NAIROBI – Kenya’s finance ministry has requested parliament to increase the 2019/20 (July-June) budget by 86.4 billion shillings ($844 million) for power, rail and road projects, Business Daily and Daily Nation newspapers said on Wednesday.
The Kenyan newspapers, citing documents submitted to parliament on Tuesday, reported the ministry said the extra money will go toward funding, among others, a road project, railways and power transmission and distribution.
The newspapers reported that the ministry asked parliament to cut recurrent expenditure by 5.6 billion shillings, but raise development expenditure by 85.5 billion shillings and add 6.5 billion shillings for county authorities.
The government in June initially set overall 2019/20 spending at 2.8 trillion shillings.
In September, the finance ministry said the government projected overall 2019/20 expenditure of 2.84 trillion shillings and 2.79 trillion shillings in 2020/21.
In the same month, the ministry said it would cut government spending for 2019/20 by 2.1%, equivalent to 46.2 billion shillings.
The request for an increase in the 2019/20 budget comes at a time when the government is struggling to meet its revenue collection target, which stands at 2.09 trillion shillings for the fiscal year.
The government, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has been criticised for increasing borrowing since coming to power in 2013.
Total public debt stood at 62.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) as of June, the World Bank said in late October, having breached the recommended threshold 50% of GDP in the 2015/16 financial year.
When Kenyatta took over, total public debt stood at 42% of GDP.
The government has defended the higher borrowing, saying it is required to fund infrastructure.
($1 = 102.3500 Kenyan shillings)