The Star (Nairobi)

12 June 2014

Kenya: Ruto Gets His Own Budget

DEPUTY President William Ruto has made some headway in the battle for his office's financial independence. Ruto will now get his own office's budget Vote distinct from the Presidency Vote in the Budget to be read today by National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich.

Sources told the Star that the matter of separating the budget of the two wings of the Presidency had been "sorted out from above". However, the estimates tabled in Parliament still reflect Ruto's moneys falling under the Presidency Vote.

According to the estimates passed by Parliament, Ruto will receive a recurrent budgetary allocation of Sh595 million. The amount will be distinct from the Presidency's recurrent allocation of Sh2.7 billion, which will be shared out among State House, Cabinet Affairs and Presidency Headquarters.

The Office of the Spouse of the Deputy President will receive Sh72 million to run its affairs, distinct from the Office of the First Lady, which will receive Sh114 million.

Yesterday, MP John Mbadi, a member of the budget committee, said he is unaware that the DP's budget has been separated from the Presidency's. He however said it is possible the process to do so is on course.

"The estimates we approved yesterday [Tuesday] will be consolidated and maybe at that point they will create a Vote for the DP and seek approval at the Appropriations Bill stage," he said.

Ruto's office has been battling for financial independence from State House for a while now. The DP's URP party entered into a 50-50 pre-election power pact with President Uhuru Kenyatta's TNA, but found that he was unable to function with an independent budget last year.

"The Office of the DP cannot hire anyone without approval from the Presidency and cannot even buy tissue paper, unless it is approved by the same office. We have no idea what this means," a URP MP told the Star last November, when the financial independence quest flared up as an issue.

State House (Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and the Sagana, Eldoret, Kakamega and Kisumu State lodges) will take the bulk of the Presidency's recurrent money at Sh944 million, followed by the Presidency Headquarters at Sh408 million. The Cabinet Office is the third biggest consumer of the Presidency's money, at Sh395 million.

The South Sudan Liaison Office, also under the Presidency, will consume Sh257 million. Of Ruto's Sh595 million, the bulk of it - Sh205 million - is titled only "other operating costs". He however has Sh80 million for foreign travel, Sh68 million for domestic travel, Sh64 million for salaries, Sh40 million for fuel, oil and lubricants, Sh34 million for hospitality services and Sh25 million to maintain his vehicles.

Ruto's development budget is Sh50 million. The Presidency will be left with Sh736 million of development expenditure, Sh400 million of which will be consumed by State House, Nairobi.

Strangely, on top of the Sh50 million Development Vote, Ruto has been allocated Sh200 million for "construction and civil works", and Sh150 million for "purchase of specialized plant, equipment and machinery".

Ruto's official residence in Karen is said to be slated for major renovations to replace formica fittings that have peeled off, install CCTV equipment, erect an electric fence and remodel some of the facilities and units.

It is possible most of the extra Sh350 million will be consumed by the residence. Some of it may go to refurbishment of his town office, the former Shell House.

Treasury has also split Vote heads for several ministries which have been found to be too large for one allocation. These include Devolution, Interior, Transport, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Tourism.

Interior has been split between the State department of the Interior and State department of Coordination of National Government; Devolution into the State department of Planning and State department of Devolution; while Education has been split into the department of Education and department of Science and Technology.

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