• May 19, 2024
  • Last Update May 19, 2024 1:57 PM
  • Nairobi

PS Kisiang’ani laments about budget cuts every cycle

PS Kisiang’ani laments about budget cuts every cycle

By Peter Ochieng

Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunication Edward Kisiang’ani on Wednesday appeared frustrated by what he termed as budget cuts every cycle.

The PS appeared beforethe National Assembly’s Communication Information and Innovation Committee under the leadership of Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie, concerning the budget estimates for the financial year 2024/25 and supplementary estimates II for financial year 2023/24.

Kisiang’ani decried financial challenges faced by Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs), highlighting a shortfall in expected funding, particularly affecting the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) with a significant budget reduction of Sh1 billion.

“Cabinet agreed that communication is a crucial sector, but we face budget cuts every cycle. MCK had a proposed budget of Sh1.5 billion, which has now been slashed to Sh500 million. MCK will struggle to pay salaries, let alone execute their mandate,” said PS Kisiang’ani.

Members of Parliament expressed concern over Treasury’s budget cuts, emphasizing the need for a more comprehensive understanding of their impact on operations.

Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir said, “The SAGAs’ biggest problem is that Treasury just cuts budgets without visualizing how it will affect operations on the ground.”

On his part, Kiarie pointed out discrepancies in the budget allocation for the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC), Eldoret Branch. According to the budget books, 40% of the funds have been utilized, yet no construction has commenced.

Legislators questioned the value for money in the absence of an audit bureau in the communication sector, which complicates ascertaining coverage in print media.

Meanwhile, Economic Planning Principal Secretary, James Muhati says that the reduction in the 2024-2025 financial year estimates, will have a direct and negative impact on their ability to deliver on core mandates.

The planning department’s annual estimates for the upcoming financial year totals to Sh64.466 billion comprising of Sh2.991 billion Recurrent Estimates and Sh.61.47 billion Development Estimates.

Initially, an allocation in the approved 2024 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) ceilings amounted to Sh69.294 billion made up of an allocation of Sh4.174 billion for recurrent estimates and Sh65.119 billion for development estimates.

“The financial year 2024-25 recurrent estimates allocation has been reduced by 52 per cent from the 2024 BPS Ceiling or 56 per cent from the FY 2023-24 approved estimates while the development estimates have decreased by 75 percent from the 2024 BPS ceiling and FY 2023/24 approved estimates,” said Muhati.

He said in order to adequately deliver the planning function, the State Department needs to strengthen its human resource capacity through among other measures recruitment, promotions and motivation of staff.

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