Treasury CS Ukur Yatani was on Thursday bullish that the government will realise the big four agenda despite a reduction in the funding of the programmes in recent years.
In the budget estimates read by CS in parliament, the Treasury allocated the president’s legacy projects Sh142.1 billion, an amount considered a drop in the ocean for the programme.
But speaking to journalists after reading the budget, Yatani said most of the projects captured under the big four will be completed by the end of the 2021-22 financial year.
He expounded that the implementation of the projects are at various stages, adding that the government had projects over a period of three years.
“The fact that the allocation for this year is lower than last year, does not mean that we have abandoned the projects.
“It only means that these projects are at different phases of implementation and we are happy with the progress and confident that most of them will be completed in good time,” he said.
The programmes under the umbrella of the big four agenda are food security, affordable housing, universal health care and manufacturing.
However, there have been concerns the president may not realise the programmes before he retires in August next year owing to underfunding and slow pace of implementation.
In a report tabled to parliament on Tuesday, National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee cast doubt on the realisation of the project before the president’s tenure ends.
For instance, the committee chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega noted that the universal health care which is supposed to cover one million poor houses at Sh6 billion annually taken off.
“In the 2021-22 financial year, streamlining of functions will be crucial to eliminate duplication and reduce wastage to be able to complete projects on time,” the committee recommended.
Under the housing agenda, a target to deliver 500,000 affordable and decent housing units to Kenyans has fallen short of expectations.
So far, only 1, 370 units have been built.
But the CS said that just like any government project, the government has allocated funds to the big four to ensure their successful and timely competition.
“We are also looking at the continuous implementation of the big 4 agenda because the agenda was not a one-year event. It was a programme that we planned and budgeted over three years- over the mediums term,” he said.
The CS also talked about the pending bills that have continued to balloon despite the president’s directive to clear the same.
Yatani said that his ministry has drafted an amendment to PFM Act to give the Treasury powers to retain allocations to counties and government agencies that do not pay pending bills.
In conjunction with the office of Auditor General, he said his Ministry is set to commission an audit of pending bills in counties.
Further, the CS defended the Sh3.6 trillion budget he unveiled yesterday, saying it will spur economic growth.
“The budget has to be high because it not only based on priorities but the scope of our expenditure. The government is widening the economy,” he said.
He added, “A big-budget has an impact on economic growth because those are centres of investment expenditures. If you restrain expenditure, then that multiply effect will not be felt at all.”