Defence ministry seeks $73 million more to recruit, upgrade facilities (Kenya)

By Edwin Mutai | Business Daily, Kenya December 27, 2016

The Defence ministry is seeking an additional Sh7.3 billion to recruit personnel and mordernise its equipment in the next financial year.

The ministry told Parliament that the funds will enable its forces to carry out operational and administrative roles effectively to secure the country.

“The committee recommends that a further Sh7.3 billion be sourced from any other government department to enable the ministry recruit personnel and modernise its facilities…” Ndung’u Gethenji, who chairs the National Assembly’s

Defence and Foreign Relations committee, said in submissions to the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC).

MPs on Tuesday approved a resource ceiling of Sh103.6 billion to enable the ministry discharge its mandate effectively in the financial year 2017/18.

BAC chairman Mutava Musyimi told MPs that the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has budgetary allocation for recruitment in the 2016/17 supplementary budget which is currently before Parliament for approval.

“The CS Treasury said that the 2016/17 Supplementary Budget Estimates I contains provisions for Kenya Defence Forces which plans to roll out a recruitment process,” Mr Musyimi said in a BAC report on the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) and the Debt Management Strategy for 2017/18 and the Medium Term.

The committee said the security situation is dynamic and calls for a multi-dimensional approach and constant review thereby necessitating the mobilisation of huge resources to address the challenges.

The committee said in minutes attached to the BAC report that the ministry had requested for Sh155.45 billion against a ceiling of Sh103.6 billion resulting in a financing gap of Sh51.85 billion.

“Some of the areas to be affected with the gap include personnel emoluments for additional recruitment by Sh2.3 billion, related infrastructure and National Space Agency at Sh347 million,” the committee said. The ministry has been allocated Sh9.9 billion in the coming budget to sustain Kenya’s forces fighting Al Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.

Kenyan forces entered Somalia in December 2011 to pursue terrorists who were staging regular attacks on tourists and foreign aid workers. Defence Secretary Raychael Omamo told the committee that the ministry had been allocated Sh98.6 billion in the current budget with development expenditure of Sh45 million.

Accompanied by Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt General Joseph Kasaon, Ms Omamo told temporary committee chairman Dido Raso that the ministry is critical in sustaining economic growth through enhancing peace and security.

The defence bosses told the MPs that Sh2.2 billion is needed to cater for pay of the additional recruitment in next fiscal year.

“On modernisation of our equipment we wanted Sh53.5 billion but we have been allocated only Sh15.6 billion resulting to a Sh37 billion gap. For operations and maintenance, we had requested the Treasury to allocate Sh39.2 billion but we have been given Sh28.2 billion leaving a shortfall of Sh10 billion,” they told the committee when it appeared to defend their budget ceilings for 2017/18 financial year.

The ministry said there has been an increase in operational equipment and maintenance and therefore need for additional budgetary allocations.

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