18 March 2017

Kenya's Treasury Dithers On Date to Present Budget

Kenya's National Treasury has left the public uncertain over when the 2017/18 budget would be read with speculations mounting that the annual ceremony could be held on Thursday, March 23.

Kenya is expected to veer from the East African Community (EAC) norm of reading the budget in June in order to free funds for the August General Election.

The Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich refused to commit himself on the date even as professional services firms such as KPMG and Deloitte & Touché prepare for budget analysis sessions next week.

"The National Treasury will be shortly notifying the general public on the date of the budget day. Any other days going around is speculation," Mr Rotich told The EastAfrican.

Working around the clock

However, Kenya's parliamentary committee on Finance, Planning and Trade said March 23 had been fixed as a tentative date for reading the 2017/2018 budget.

"I may not confirm because it is always done by the Budget and Appropriations Committee but it was to be tentatively on Thursday next week," said Benjamin Lang'at, the committee's chairman.

Government sources said technocrats at the National Treasury are working around the clock to put the final touches on the government's financial plan and deliver it before the end of this month.

"Our aim is to finalise everything that is done in June by March this year, because of the coming elections, and this is actually taking a toll on us," a Treasury official told The EastAfrican.

"We have not yet secured a date for the budget reading but we want to see everything completed by March 31 and we are now consulting with other members of the EAC," the source added.

Mr Rotich submitted to Parliament the Budget estimates for the 2017/18 fiscal year last month.

But Treasury is concerned that lack of quorum in Parliament would make it impossible to approve key financial legislations such as the Appropriations and Finance Bills.

According to the parliamentary timetable, the legislators are expected to take a break in April to participate in party nominations, and return in May for one month before parliament is dissolved 60 days ahead of the elections as per the law.

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