22 March 2014

Kenya: Key Ministries Slow in Funds Absorption

WITH four months before end of the current government financial year, some key ministries are still facing challenges absorbing development funds, official data shows.

According to the statement of actual revenue and net exchequer issues as at end February published in Friday's gazette, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is yet to spend 83.1 per cent of its development budget allocation.

The education ministry has only taken up Sh3.9 billion out of the Sh23 billion it was allocated in the current 2013/2014 budget.

The ministry of transport and infrastructure has not taken up 52.4 per cent of its development funds allocation after spending only Sh21.4 billion out of the Sh44.9 billion given for the period.

In December, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich estimated the uptake of government development money to be around 55 and 60 per cent and said the ministry hopes to increase the rate to at least 80 per cent.

Rotich blamed cumbersome procurement procedures for the low uptake level adding that releasing funds from the exchequer also ought to be fastened to ensure ministries get to spend even 100 per cent of their development money every year.

The statement of exchequer issues shows that the Ministry of Devolution is yet to spend Sh18.7 billion which is 40.5 per cent of the total budget.

The health ministry is yet to take up 24.9 per cent of its money for the year, having so far taken Sh9.2 billion out of the total Sh12 billion given.

Controller of budget Agnes Odhiambo has previously blamed ministry implementation committee for the slow absorption of development funds.

In the financial year 2012/2013, ministries and government departments failed to spend close to Sh350 billion allocated to them because of the tedious and bureaucratic processes.

Last month, Rotich directed that ministries first present their development plans to Treasury for approval before their budget proposals are agreed on to help curb wastage of funds as well as low absorption.

According to the Budget Policy Statement, there is an under spending in government of Sh110.8 billion during the first six months running July to December of the current 2013/2014 financial year.

Under utilisation of development funds puts the government's development agenda under threat especially Vision 2030 plans.

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