ICT Ministry wins big in Budget changes

The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology has emerged the biggest winner as Parliament proposed additional Sh23 billion in expenditure for the 2019/2020 financial year.

This comes even as Parliament’s Budget and Appropriations Committee flagged the country’s growing fiscal deficit, with stagnant revenue collections forcing the government to turn to the debt market to meet its obligations.

The committee has further raised issue with Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over the growing number of stalled public projects and inability of the taxman to meet revenue targets.

“A low fiscal deficit has been a moving target of the National Government for many years,” stated the committee’s report tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

“If we are to adhere to the proposed fiscal consolidation path, then this house will need to seriously interrogate any additional expenditure requests that may arise in the course of the year and reject any requests that are deemed to be non-core and not an emergency at the time.”

Nevertheless, the committee proposed an additional Sh25 billion towards various ministries and State departments, including some whose previous project implementation record has been found wanting.

Beneficiaries

Among the largest beneficiaries is the ICT ministry that has been allocated an additional Sh6 billion for infrastructure development.

This includes Sh2 billion allocated towards the second phase of the National Optic Fibre Backbone project and Sh5.3 billion for Konza City development.

At the same time, Parliament proposed slashing Sh1.2 billion from the Digital Literacy Project, citing administrative shortcomings in the rollout of the project including inadequate training of teachers and low power connectivity in some parts of the country.

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