James Momanyi @jamomanyi
With tabling of 2018/19 budget behind him, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich turns his focus to approval of the Appropriations Bill and Finance Bill by the National Assembly.
While the Appropriation Bill seeks Parliament’s approval for withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund to meet the approved expenditures in a financial year, Finance Bill seeks approval of Parliament for raising resources through taxes and cess among others. Both are money bills.
Once the Appropriation Bill is discussed and approved by Parliament, it is then signed into law by the President, hence signalling the Treasury to start withdrawing a sum of money required to meet public expenditure during the financial year ending June 30, 2019.
The Bill also appropriates the money granted for services and purposes specified in the Schedule, which is based on the estimates for the 2017/2018 financial year. It also makes provision for appropriations in aid of those services and purposes.
At the beginning of this financial year, the Bill granted for the issuance of Sh1.26 trillion out of the Consolidated Fund for public expenditure for the fiscal year ending June 30. In the forthcoming financial year, public expenditure would consume an estimated Sh1.73 trillion.In case the Bill has not been assented to or is unlikely to be assented to by the beginning of the financial year, the National Assembly may authorise withdrawal of half of the amount required for expenditure for the financial year.
This instrument is called the Vote on Account and the expenditure is later included in the Appropriation Act as application during its approval. However, the role of Parliament does not end in the budget making process for a specific financial year.
Occasionally, and it has now become almost a normal practice, the House is called upon to approve supplementary budgets and appropriations presented by the National Treasury.
Since the Cabinet Secretary has proposed a number of amendments to tax system, the Treasury will also prepare and introduce a Finance Bill to provide for the changes to taxation and its administration so as to enable the government to raise adequate taxes to fund the approved budget. Finance Bill is presented to National Assembly alongside the budget statement.