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Why Kenya's budget is read before the MPs pass Finance Bill 2024

A look into Kenya's budget making process as Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung'u presents the budget in Parliament

Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu arriving in Parliament for the 2023 Budget Day
  • Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u to present National Budget Policy Statement for 2024/25 financial year on June 13
  • EAC Treaty requires finance ministers of partner states to read their budgets simultaneously on the same day
  • National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee to review Finance Bill 2024 and present their findings to the house next week

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u is set to present the National Budget Policy Statement for the 2024/25 financial year on June 13.

This presentation precedes the approval of the Finance Bill 2024 by Parliament.

According to the EAC Treaty, finance ministers of the partner states read their budgets simultaneously on the same day.

Following the presentation of the budget, the National Assembly Finance and Planning Committee will retreat to review the Finance Bill 2024, with plans to present their findings to the house next week.

This critical juncture in the budget-making process underscores the importance of the Finance Bill 2024 in shaping the country's economic policy and fiscal management.

The Finance Bill 2024 is a crucial legislative document that outlines the government's fiscal policies, including taxation measures, revenue generation strategies, and amendments to existing tax laws.

It serves as the legal framework for implementing the financial proposals outlined in the National Budget Policy Statement.

The bill's importance lies in its ability to facilitate revenue collection. The Finance Bill ensures that the government can raise the necessary funds to support its expenditure plans.

Kenya’s budget-making process is a structured and participatory exercise guided by the Public Finance Management Act, of 2012, and the Constitution of Kenya, of 2010.

Here are the key stages of this process:

  1. Commencement: By August 30 each year, the Cabinet Secretary issues a circular to all national government entities with guidelines for the budget process, including key dates, procedures for revenue and expenditure reviews, and public participation mechanisms​​.
  2. Submission of Estimates: By April 30, the Cabinet Secretary, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), and the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary must submit their respective budget estimates to the National Assembly. This includes ensuring public participation in the preparation of these estimates​​.
  3. Review by Parliament: The Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly discusses and reviews the estimates, seeking public representations and making recommendations to the National Assembly. The National Treasury also provides comments on the budgets proposed by the PSC and the Chief Registrar for the Judiciary​​.
  4. Publicising Estimates: Upon submission, the Cabinet Secretary publicises the budget estimates and other relevant documents​​.
  5. Approval and Legislation: Once the National Assembly approves the budget estimates, the Cabinet Secretary prepares and submits an Appropriation Bill. The estimates should ideally be approved in time for the Appropriation Bill and other related Bills to be assented to by June 30​​.

The Finance Bill and the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure FY 2024/2025 are integral documents in Kenya's budget-making process.

They play complementary yet distinct roles in ensuring a structured and effective fiscal policy and budget implementation.

While the Finance Bill deals with the ways the government plans to raise revenue, the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure details how the government plans to spend the money.

Both documents require parliamentary scrutiny and approval. This ensures that both the revenue measures and expenditure plans are subject to public debate and parliamentary oversight, promoting transparency and accountability.

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