Parliament will lose about Sh2.59 billion that had been allocated for foreign and domestic travel in the next financial year, thanks to Covid-19 which has grounded international and domestic passenger flights.
The 416 members of the National Assembly and Senate, as well as parliamentary staff, are paid hefty allowances whenever they travel outside the country on work-related assignments.
However, the quiet skies mean that they will not travel as long as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc.
Initially, Parliament, which includes the Senate and the National Assembly, was to get about Sh40 billion in the 2020/21 financial year that begins on July 1, 2020, before the readjustments were made due to the global disease.
Parliament has three votes: the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), which includes Senate affairs and general administration, planning and support services.
Then there is the National Assembly, which includes national legislation, representation and oversight and the parliamentary joint services, which has general administration, planning and support services as well as legislative training research and knowledge management.
According to the report of the Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) that was adopted by the National Assembly on Tuesday evening, PSC will now get Sh6.49 billion, the National Assembly Sh23.62 billion and the Parliamentary Joint Services Sh5.60 billion in recurrent expenditure.
A further Sh2.10 billion will go towards development expenditure.
However, with the adjustments, Parliament will have to make do with Sh37.78 billion.
The readjustments will see Sh1.1 billion going to finance the National Government-Constituency development Fund (NG-CDF), whose overall allocation is now Sh41.7 billion, with the balance financing the budget deficit, which stands at about Sh1.1 trillion.
In the current financial year, Parliament was allocated Sh36.5 billion, with Sh5.8 billion set aside for foreign and domestic travel.
However, the advent of the global disease saw the funds reallocated to other budget lines during the Supplementary Budget II passed by the National Assembly in April, as the government rushed to cushion the economy from shocks occasioned by the disease.
The national legislation, representation and oversight, which falls under the National Assembly, has had Sh1.4 billion slashed, leaving it with Sh23.62 billion, with Senate affairs losing Sh661.5 million.
The joint services, a shared function of the Senate and the National Assembly, lost Sh514.6 million under the general administration, planning and support services and Sh48.12 million from legislative training and knowledge management.
Initially, the two programmes had been allocated a cumulative Sh6.2 billion.
The PSC will also lose Sh100 million, which will now be used to purchase a building, with the Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training (CPST) losing Sh300 million.
Under Parliament’s development expenditure, Sh400 million has been allocated to complete the construction of a multi-storey office block, with Sh170 million – an increased allocation – going to county offices for the 47 elected senators.
The allocation to Parliament is about 2 per cent of the country’s Sh2.7 trillion budget.
The Education sector, which has been allocated Sh501.5 billion, is the biggest consumer of the national budget at 28 per cent, followed by Energy, Infrastructure and ICT’s Sh407.8 billion at 23 per cent.