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Parliament’s budget office raises concern over Big Four

George Kebaso @Morarak

Parliamentary experts on budgeting have raised concern over the pace at which the Big Four projects are being implemented, three years and four months to the end of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term in office.

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) said the slow pace of implementing the Big Four agenda for economic growth puts billions of shillings earmarked for projects in jeopardy.

Just like in other government projects, the office which provides budget, finance and economic information to committees of Parliament, said slow and casual implementation of Big Four projects is a major hindrance to the agenda’s progress.

Another major impediment, PBO added in the statement, is lack of a clear collaborative framework between the national and county governments, yet two of the four items in the economic blueprint, are devolved and require co-operation.

Devolved functions

“Two of the Big Four pillars, that is, Agriculture and Health, are actually devolved functions. There is need therefore for a clear collaborative framework between the two levels of government in order for the plan to be implemented adequately,” the office noted in a budget policy statement.

What is intriguing for PBO is that many of the Big Four-related projects are not new and were actually already in the course of implementation before December 12, 2017, when they were announced.

“As such, they probably may not require such huge resource outlays,” PBO said in the analysis. The Big Four action plan accounts for about 14.6 per cent of the total budget.

The bulk of these resources, an estimated Sh374.1 billion, is for implementation of the enablers, such as water, roads, rail and ICT, among others, while Sh76.1 billion is for the drivers.

According to PBO, there is, however, a general concern that resources allocated for the Big Four may not be adequate.

Medium-Term Plan III indicates that about Sh367.3 billion is required to implement the big four plan in 2019/20.

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