MPs push for ‘smaller more realistic’ budget in taming runaway deficit

A large part of the Kenya’s budget is financed through debt, members of parliament have noted.

In a report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, the Budget and Appropriations Committee recommended that Treasury pursues a smaller but more realistic budget.

The recommendations are expected to see the country live largely within its means and only borrow minimally.

The latest push is meant to tame the runaway deficit that has been costing the Exchequer dearly and pushed up total debt to Sh5.2 trillion. Efforts to put in place austerity measures have not borne much fruit.

The MPs now want Treasury to trim the budget for the next financial year by 22 per cent to Sh2.06 trillion, from earlier estimates of Sh2.6 trillion.

Treasury should further cap Government’s spending at Sh2 trillion for the next three financial years up to 2022/23, a move likely to result in significant reduction in funding for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four projects.

“The financing of the 2019/20 budget and the medium term be set at a ceiling of Sh2.062 trillion for 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23,” said the committee chaired by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa.

“This will ensure that the deficit/fiscal balance (on commitment basis including grants) is no more than 5.1 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 3.3 per cent and 3.1 per cent for (the respective years).”

“I wish to reiterate that the medium term figures for the deficit should be binding,” said the chairman.

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