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Uhuru’s Big Four agenda facing opposition in NASA counties

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President Uhuru Kenyatta is likely to have a hard time implementing his Big Four agenda in NASA controlled counties.

NASA leaders and governors in opposition strongholds have vowed not to recognise Uhuru’s presidency.

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Senate Finance Committee yesterday poked holes in the plan, saying most of the items are devolved. Uhuru want to use the Big Four agenda to shape his legacy.

NASA lawmakers in National Assembly have vowed not to be party to parliamentary matters that benefit Jubilee administration. Minority Leader John Mbadi said the coalition will be boycotting legislation beneficial to Uhuru’s administration.

The committee chaired by Senator Mahamud Mohamed (Mandera) raised a concern that it would be difficult to implement the programmes unless the national government partners with the 47 counties.

Uhuru has identified manufacturing, universal healthcare, food security and provision of 500, 000 affordable housing units as his key agendas during his last term.

Food security falling under Agriculture and healthcare under Health are devolved functions that the Jubilee administration would be forced to agree with NASA and its governors for smooth implementation.

“Some of the big four agendas the national government plans to undertake are devolved. There is a risk of disfranchising devolved function since the Jubilee administration has set them as priorities,” Bungoma Senator and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula said.

The Finance committee decried a possible duplication and interference to county functions by the state when getting views on proposed Budget Policy Statement for 2018-19 financial years.

The Mahamud-led committee met the Commission on Revenue Allocation chairperson Jane Kiringai and National Treasury represented by Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gachuhie.

“What is the role of counties in implementing the big four agendas now that Agriculture and health are devolved functions and housing would also be devolved?” Mahamud asked.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura raised a concern that so far there is no blueprint on Uhuru’s big four agendas.

“There seems to be a disconnection between the big four agenda blueprint and the Budget Policy Statement,” he said.

Treasury officials told the senators that consultations are ongoing between the national government and the counties through the Intergovernmental Budget Council (IBEC) on how Uhuru’s key agendas will be implemented.

“Although most of the big four are devolved, the state is working with counties to ensure the agendas objectives are realized like it has been doing with the health sector and housing,” Treasury’s director general on Budget Geoffrey Mwau said.

He confirmed that there is no blueprint or proposed budget for the big four agendas instead they have been included with the respective ministries.

“The ongoing projects would be slowed down to accommodate the big four. There must be close collaboration with counties to implement the big four agendas and already there is consultations with governors within IEBC,” National Treasury officials said

The Commission on Revenue Allocation warned that the overall budget deficit would deal a blow the Uhuru’s implementation of the much hyped revolutionary legacy agendas.

“Reduction in the overall fiscal deficit from 7.2 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent of GDP over the medium term by 2021-22 in line with EAC community Monetary Union Protocol’s fiscal targets could undermine the achievement Kenya’s Investment plan towards realizing the big four,” Kiringai said.

Ongoing mega-projects to undermine realization of the big four agendas according to Kiringai include the construction of the Mombasa-Nairobi six lane highway, dualling of Ngong Road and Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railaway,.

Others include Phase II second container terminal free port in Mombasa, Lamu Port, Development of the Kisumu Port and the Last Mile electricity connectivity.

She warned that the runaway national debt and failure to manage interest rates threaten realization of the big four.

Kirangai criticized Treasury for allocating county counties Sh314 billion instead of its proposed Sh373 billion, donor grants included.

the-star.co.ke

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