MPs cut budgets to cater for lecturers, doctors strike and drought

MPs have cut budgets of key state departments to cater for the ongoing lecturers and doctors’ strikes and the drought. Doctors downed their tools on December 5 last year saying theirs would be the longest strike in Kenya’s history. Lecturers took their action on January 19 and have also said they will only resume duty if the government meets their demands.

Both groups are demanding higher pay and better working conditions inline Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with the government. Mutava Musyimi, chairman of the National Assembly Budget and Appropriation committee, said the government is unable to end the crises due to lack of contingency funds.

“The medical personnel, teachers, lecturers and county government employees have gone on strike demanding for increase in wages and improved working conditions,” he noted

Education CS Fred Matiang’i yesterday met with lecturers and non-teaching staff union officials from public universities to revive stalled salary talks. Musyimi also pointed out that the unforeseen strikes and drought put pressure on the state and Parliament, necessitating a revision of the budget.

Millions of shillings for various ministries, including Health and Interior, have been reduced in the 2016-17 Supplementary Budget to help address the crises. A sum of Sh21.7 million from the Interior ministry’s Policing Services Programme, for operating expenses at GSU headquarters, has been slashed.

Some Sh1.7 billion has been cut from Health ministry under its National Referral and Specialized Services Programme.An amount of Sh5 billion has been taken from the department of infrastructure under its Road Transport Programme for low volume seal roads.

The Energy ministry has lost Sh500 million for its Power Transmission and Distribution programme for Connectivity Subsidy and Sh100 million for installation of transformers for constituencies.

MPs have unanimously passed the budget adjustments.Musyimi has however said the National Drought Management Fund is not yet operational, hence calling on the respective Authority to fast track the use.

“Drought has taken an almost predictable pattern in this country with a devastating impact on livelihoods,” he said.President Uhuru Kenyatta had asked for local and international help in mitigating the effects of drought.

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