The budgeting process, especially at the formulation and approval stage, aims to align priorities with funding and fiscal policies. The budget process clarifies expected revenue and expenditure lines to avoid cases of either underspending or underfunded mandates. However, even in the most watertight fiscal systems, unforeseen circumstances may require the government to review its approved budget and make some adjustments.
Supplementary Budget sum up the in-year adjustments made to different government programmes under the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Section 223 of the Constitution of Kenya stipulates the conditions under which additional money can be appropriated through Supplementary Budgets. These include if the amount appropriated for any purpose under the Appropriation Act is insufficient or a need has arisen for expenditure for a purpose for which no amount has been appropriated by that Act or money has been withdrawn from the Contingencies Fund.
These appropriations or adjustments can have a significant impact on the funding of key priorities. However, this part of the process has not been open to public scrutiny. That is, changes to the priorities that the National Assembly approved earlier with public consultation are adjusted without consultation. To date, there are no specific provisions in the law for the public to be consulted at this stage of the process, leaving the government with a free hand to shift from the priorities citizens had identified during budget formulation and approval. Therefore, it is important for citizens to find ways to engage with every step of the budget cycle and all the government’s specific decisions, especially during implementation.
More often than not, Kenya’s government have always passed at least two Supplementary Budgets in a financial year in the recent past without input from the public. However, as a result of the sustained efforts by citizens to get more involved in identifying proposed changes and learning how these may affect them, the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly put out a call for the public to share their views on Supplementary Budget IFY2022/2023. However, these gains were lost again as there was no call for public submissions on the most recent Supplementary Budget II FY2022/2023.
Moreover, in its report on the Supplementary Budget II FY2020/21, the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) recommended that no supplementary budget should be submitted to Parliament after the 30th of April in any financial year. Despite this, the Supplementary Budget II FY 2022/23 was tabled in parliament on the 21st of June 2023 and passed on the 26th, just 5 days to the end of FY 2022/23. This shows the violation of the rule since the BAC report, with the first being the tabling of the Supplementary II of FY 2021/22 on8th June 2022.
This brief looks at the critical budgetary changes proposed by the national government in its second Supplementary Budget for financial year 2022/23.