Kenya: Budget - National Security Gets Third Biggest Allocation

Though Deputy President William Ruto is not the only one affected in the Budget cuts, he is among top officials in the Executive with the steepest cuts in the 2020/21 spending plan, which will see the government spend a total of Sh2.7 trillion.

National security will be the third biggest expenditure item in the 2020/21 period. It will come after education and infrastructure, an indication that crime busting and law enforcement will be among the top priorities in President Kenyatta's penultimate fiscal year.

The Sh174 billion allocated to governance, law and order reflects a Sh16 billion slash, but places national security ahead of health and water and sanitisation - two dockets that are battling the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken Kenya's economy to the core.

The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government headed by Dr Fred Matiang'i will be the biggest spender in the docket with Sh131.6 billion, which is a Sh6.9 billion reduction from the current fiscal year.

With this cash, the Interior ministry will be expected to channel Sh6.1 billion towards new and ongoing development projects, such as the vehicle leasing programme, improvement of police housing and improving the government's services to citizens.

Dr Matiang'i leads several functions, including internal security, border management, coordination of government functions and disaster management.

Other governance, law and order institutions covered by the Sh174 billion budget allocation include the National Intelligence Service, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the State Law Office, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Police Service Commission, the Independent Police Oversight Authority and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.

The State Law Office under Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki will receive Sh4.6 billion.

The Attorney General's budget has taken a Sh200 million hit in this financial year's disbursements.

Legal services are expected to take up Sh2 billion while governance, training and constitutional affairs have been allocated Sh1.9 billion.

General administration, planning and support services will use up Sh740 million.

Mr Kariuki will have Sh185 million to use on development projects, compared to Sh277 million in the current fiscal year.

While the National Police Service is the biggest beneficiary of the allocations under Dr Matiang'i, it has also suffered the largest slash in the governance, law and order docket.

The police department will have to make do with a Sh4.4 billion budget cut, as the government looks to balance between overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, growing the economy and keeping its citizens safe.

The National Police Service includes the Kenya Police and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

The funds include a Sh1.6 billion allocation for development. For the police, this includes infrastructure such as houses for officers and its ongoing modernisation programme.

On the other hand, the NPSC, which is in charge of hiring of police officers, has been allocated Sh806 million.

Since the most important functions of the NPSC, including hiring of the inspector-general and control of the police payroll were transferred to the National Police Service, National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani's allocation of Sh806 million could be construed to be on the higher side.

The amount is an increase of Sh69.4 million from the current financial year.

The NPSC has not been allocated anything for development, hence its entire allocation will likely go to recurrent expenditure such as salaries, allowances and the police recruitment process.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) will suffer a Sh600 million reduction, as it will have a total of Sh2.3 billion to spend in the 2020/21 financial year.

Development projects under the NTSA will take the biggest hit, as it will have to work with a Sh100 million figure.

Last year, the NTSA received Sh469 million for development.

Another independent agency related to the police, the Ipoa, will have a Sh802 million budget.

The amount will be channelled towards ensuring that all rogue police officers are disciplined and convicted of crimes.

Whereas the police will suffer a budget cut in the next financial year, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) will get a Sh200 million boost to fight graft.

The EACC's Sh3 billion allocation is an indication that the government will expect the investigative agency to scale up its pursuit of individuals looting public funds.

The EACC has in the past two years stepped up its fight against corruption, securing several convictions and judgments and ensuring recovery of public assets looted by government officials.

Mr Yatani expects the anti-corruption watchdog to spend Sh40.8 million for development, which includes setting up and maintaining satellite offices across all counties and acquisition of equipment and software.

While the Sh40 million development allocation may be deemed to be modest, the EACC already has several offices across the country, which can sustain the agency until more funds are available.

In the governance, law and order docket, the National Intelligence Service will be the second biggest spender, with a Sh39 billion allocation.

The agency's spending has always remained secret and is not easily open for scrutiny. This year the agency will receive a Sh2.4 billion increment.

The third biggest spender under Dr Matiang'i will be the state department for correctional services, which is all set to receive Sh28.1 billion.

The amount is a Sh5.2 billion cut from the current financial year.

Kenya Prisons Service is the biggest beneficiary, as it is the core of the entire department.

Administration and support services will take up Sh345 million, while the rest will go into running of correctional facilities.

The Kenya Prisons Service will have Sh784 million for development projects, an increase of Sh55 million from the current financial year.

DPP Noordin Haji's budget will remain at Sh3.086 billion. This includes Sh129 million for development.

Mr Yatani has allocated the Witness Protection Agency Sh472 million to ensure that crucial witnesses whose lives are at risk get protection.

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