President Ruto, Rigathi Gachagua, Musalia Mudavadi offices get Sh3.4bn top-up


President William Ruto (right) with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (left) and Prime Cabinet Minister Musalia Mudavadi (centre) during the 2nd Day of the Inaugural Retreat for Cabinet and Senior Ranks of the Executive at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Laikipia County on January 6, 2023. PHOTO | PCS

The offices of President William Ruto, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi are set to receive an additional Sh3.4 billion in a fresh mini-budget.

The Treasury has in its second 2022/23 supplementary budget that covers spending in the fiscal year to June 30 proposed additional billions to the three offices, even as allocations to development are set to fall by Sh39 billion.

The Executive Office of the President will get the lion’s share of Budget increases at Sh3.1 billion while allocations to the offices of the Deputy President and the Prime Cabinet Secretary will rise by Sh166 million and Sh81.3 million respectively.

In contrast, State departments and ministries, including the Treasury, correctional services, infrastructure, National Assembly, the Teachers Service Commission, crop development and agricultural research, are among the biggest losers in the mini-budget which comes days to the close of the fiscal year.

Read: Inside President Ruto’s first Sh3.6 trillion budget 

The additional allocations to the Executive Office of the President will cover salaries for newly created offices and higher expenditures for operational and maintenance budgets.

“The net change of Sh2.6 billion under current expenditure is on account of additional funding to cover shortfalls in personal emoluments and operations and maintenance expenditures for new offices in line with Executive Order 1 of 2023,” the Treasury stated.

“The net charge of Sh465 million under capital expenditure is to facilitate the refurbishment of buildings.”

State House Affairs will benefit from the largest share of newly appropriated funds, receiving Sh2.1 billion from the overall budget adjustment.

The office of the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service will receive an additional Sh571.8 million to cater to hospitality supplies and services, purchase of office furniture and fuel and lubricant costs.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s office is meanwhile set to lose Sh20 million, with notable cuts being effected in the budget for the routine maintenance of vehicles, other transport equipment and the maintenance of other assets.

State House Nairobi has been allocated an extra Sh1.5 billion, the bulk of the monies — Sh231 million – earmarked for hospitality supplies and services.

Domestic and foreign travel budgets are set to get an additional Sh175 million and Sh15 million respectively while the allocation to basic salaries for staff has been increased to Sh26.3 million.

The office of the State House Spokesperson is set to receive Sh49.3 million to cover basic salaries for permanent employees and personal allowances.

The office of the First Lady will meanwhile receive an additional Sh295.7 million, the bulk of it covering salaries and the balance spread between personal allowances, domestic travel and hospitality.

The office of the Spouse to the Deputy President will, however, lose Sh31.9 million from its budget, with Sh10 million being trimmed off domestic travel.

On the development side, the Sh465 million budget increase covers additional spending on the maintenance works at State House Nairobi and general maintenance works in State House Mombasa, Sagana and State lodges in Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu and Eldoret.

Increased appropriations to the offices of the Deputy President and the Prime Cabinet Secretary cover increases to operational and maintenance budgets, including salaries and personal allowances, and hospitality services.

Following the first Executive Order of 2023, the office of the President now has 13 key offices, including fiscal affairs and budget policy, economic transformation, women’s rights adviser and the Council of Climate Change Adviser.

The recently created offices have had the effect of bloating government spending on wages and salaries, with the national government bursting the wage bill in the first nine months of the current financial year by nearly Sh16.6 billion.

Numerous appointments by the new administration in other areas of the public sector have also weighed heavily on the government’s wage bill.

For instance, State departments were increased to 51 from the previous 44 while 50 chief administrative secretaries have been appointed.

The bursting of the wage bill in the nine-month period came amidst delays in paying salaries to public servants, with the government admitting to liquidity challenges.

The bloated wage bill has raised concerns over doublespeak by the new administration which had at the onset pledged to effect budget cuts in pursuit of fiscal consolidation.

The government had, for instance, targeted budget cuts of up to Sh300 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The new Sh3.68 trillion 2023/24 Budget follows amendments to the one that was originally approved at Sh3.359 trillion.

Read: Loopholes State agencies exploit to budget for graft

Despite struggles to rationalise the Budget, the government has sought to reiterate that it remains on a fiscal consolidation path, which will be anchored on the expectation for greater revenue mobilisation in the next Budget cycle.

“The government fiscal policy for FY 2023/24 and the medium-term budget aims at undertaking a growth-friendly fiscal consolidation plan to ensure debt sustainability. This will be achieved through improved revenue collection, primarily through the broadening of the tax base, and containing overall expenditure,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u told MPs on Thursday.

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