Written By:Nelly Moraa/Glena Nyamwaya, Posted: Tue, May 31, 2011
|Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is required to submit the budget estimates by Tuesday next week|
Debate on the issue saw the government split over whether Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta will be in breach of the constitution by reading a budget that has not incorporated public participation.
Proponents of the budget reading next week argued that failure to read the budget will be against the East Africa Treaty that requires all states within the region to present their budgets on the same day.
They claimed government operations will grind to a halt if the government fails to present the budget next Wednesday.
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo described it as an enormous peril to the region if Kenya fails to comply with the East African Treaty.
However, Lands minister James Orengo insisted that the constitution must be upheld and the minister must display full compliance with the new law.
Gichugu MP Martha Karua who had raised the matter as she sought the Speaker's direction, argued that the pageantry associated with budget reading should not be witnessed this year and parliament should not adjourn its sittings after the budget reading as provided for in article 221 of the constitution.
Budget committee's deadline
The Parliamentary Budget Committee wants Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to submit the executive budgetary estimates before Tuesday next week to allow public participation before the budget is read.
The committee members met on Tuesday to strategize the way forward after Uhuru failed to submit the estimates two months ago in line with the constitutional requirements.
The committee chair Elius Mbau said if the minister fails to present the estimates, they will seek a ruling from the speaker on the matter.
However, Mbau noted that the move will not deter the committee from tabling the estimates they have received from the Judicial Service Commission and the Parliamentary Service Commission.
The members expressed disappointment on Uhuru for failing to comply with the new law, but said they are confident the matter will be put to rest.
Uhuru ignored Mbau Committee
Gwassi MP John Mbadi claimed the Finance Minister ignored advice from the budget committee in February, urging him to comply with provisions of article 221 of the constitution and table the budgetary estimates to allow public participation.
He said the technocrats at Treasury had informed the minister of the constitution provisions and the need to comply.
National assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende said as the chair of the parliamentary service commission he had ensured that parliaments budget was ready in April in compliance with the constitution.
Marende will rule next Tuesday on whether Uhuru can read the budget on the 8th June as planned or he must allow public participation through parliament's budget committee as specified in the constitution.
Last Friday the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae said the Finance Minister will be going against the law if he presents the budget to Parliament without the public input through the budget committee.
Uhuru scoffed at the claims insisting that the country cannot be held hostage by constitution time lines.