Kenya: Ministries in budget cuts to fund emergency kitty

kenya_uhuru_kenyattaTreasury has ordered all ministries to reorganise their project priorities for funding in the current financial year. The order seeks to draw focus on initiatives aimed at addressing emergency food supplies and electricity shortfalls. (pictured: Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta).

The move is the latest attempt by the Government to address hunger and power shortage amid reports that budgetary allocations set aside for such projects were running dry.

“We have asked ministries to re-look at their list of projects and focus on areas that will alleviate hunger and electricity shortages being experienced across the country,” said Uhuru Kenyatta Finance Minister.

Risk of starvation

Until then, it has been unclear how the Government planned to fund short-term measures meant to alleviate hunger and increase electricity production in the country.

Among a raft of measures is the recent Cabinet announcement of Sh250 billion stimulus plan to develop infrastructure and come up with a once and for all solution to hunger and drought a goal that can only be achieved in the long run.

Currently, it is estimated that the Government needs Sh37 billion to feed an estimated 10 million Kenyans at the risk of starvation.

Already, there have been reported cases of hunger-related deaths in the country and fears are rife that the situation will only get worse as hunger ravages areas previously regarded as food-secure.

Last week, Treasury said that it had raised Sh9 billion for food after cost-cutting across all ministries.

“We are not going to sit and wait for donor funding. This is why we are coming up with these measures,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Donor response to food shortage in the country has been slow and lukewarm. Only last week, Japan gave Kenya $7.7billion grant to address food shortages.

The food shortage has been attributed to insufficient rains that led to poor crop yield and the effects of post-election violence.

Agriculture Minister William Ruto was recently quoted saying that maize output will fall to 20.4 million 90kg bags from 28 million bags.

But as the Government moves to address food shortages, economists are warning that more needs to be done to address current power rationing, saying that prolonged electricity rationing may slowdown economic recovery.

Small and medium enterprises which drive the countrys economic growth engine have been hardest hit as they are excluded from a reprieve scheme announced by the Government.

The Standard

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