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Kenya Today

Government Restores Judiciary’s Full Budget

Georgina Korir

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The government has restored full budget that had been allocated to the Judiciary.

In an internal memo to the CEO of the Law Society of Kenya by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Chief Registrar, Ann Amadi, “the Judiciary’s Recurrent and Development budget for financial year 2019/2020 has been restored and the budget for the half year been uploaded in IFMIS as approved by the National Assembly.”

The Judiciary was allocated Sh14.5 billion by the Parliament which Treasury cut to Sh11.5 billion; slashing Sh3 billion last month in order to raise funds for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.

With the budget restoration, the Judiciary can now proceed to implement “all approved activities in FY 2019/2020 work plans should therefore proceed as planned.” the letter read in part.

The new development comes days after the Chief Justice made a public outcry citing frustration by the government saying the budget cuts had left the Judiciary in a limbo.

On October 25, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) challenged the budget cuts in courts saying the move was likely to paralyse operations at the Judiciary.

Through the case, LSK obtained interim orders compelling the Treasury to fully implement the duly approved Judiciary budget. The court orders were extended on Wednesday pending the hearing and determination of the case which comes up for a mention on November 27.

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Kenya Today

Fuel Price Soar in the Latest EPRA Review

Kevins Jerameel

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Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has hiked the fuel prices for one month of November through December. In a statement signed by EPRA Director General Pavel Oimoke on Thursday, a litre of petrol in Nairobi will now cost Sh 110.59 an increase if SG 2.54 while a litre of diesel has risen by Sh 2.65 to retail at Sh 104.61.

Households using kerosene are the hardest hit, in the latest review, kerosene consumers part with Sh 2.98 more for a liter that will cost Sh 104.06.

Kenya’s inflation increased to 5.7% in the month of September from 4.04% the previous month due to increased taxes on petroleum products.

The rate is the highest in 12 months, an indication that the impact of VAT on fuel is sieving into the economy. The price increase which took effect from Thursday night will remain in force till the midnight of December 14.

The rise in fuel proves is attributed to an increase in the landing cost for super petrol by 0.86% from Sh 4,593 per cubic meter last September to Sh 4632 per cubic meter last month while that of diesel increased by 2.08% from Sh 4919 per cubic meter to Sh 4999 cubic meter.

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Kenya Today

5 Maize Flour Brands Banned Over High Aflotoxin Levels

Georgina Korir

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Five maize flour brands have been banned by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on Saturday. The brands were   confirmed to have high aflotoxin levels than the maximum limit, going by Kenya’s standards.

The list was inclusive of Kifaru by Alpha Grain Limited, Dola by Kitui Four Mills, Starehe by Pan African Grain Millers, 210 Two Ten by Kenblest Limited and Jembe by Kensal Rise Limited.

KEBS gave a report where they explained that the ban was a result of market surveillance and multiple reports from the public.

“KEBS has noted that some brands of maize meal products offered for sale do not meet requirements,” it said in a statement.

“The permits have been suspended and the manufacturers instructed to discontinue manufacturing or offering for sale the affected maize meal products.”

The bureau further gave an announcement that it had taken into custody some of the banned products and given instructions to supermarkets across the country to get rid of them.

It said substandard products found on sale will be seized for destruction at the expense of the owner and that legal consequences will follow.

“The manufacturers are required to recall all the substandard products and institute corrective actions,” the statement said.

Kebs however gave reassurance that, once the companies take the corrective measures, it will confirm that standards and thereafter, have the ban lifted.

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Economy

Austerity Fails to Contain Public Spending Spree

Kevins Jerameel

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Kenya's acting Treasury cabinet secretary Ukuru Yattani

Despite freezing new development projects, instituting budget cuts and a freeze on hiring, the National Treasury was unable to tame State expenditure. Budget outlook paper recently published by the Treasury shows it only managed to save Sh149 billion by mostly cutting on pension, operations and maintenance.

Treasury managed to save Sh39.3 billion on development spending, confirming doubts that it could not renege on project commitments after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that all new projects would be frozen until ongoing ones are completed in July.

The treasury had estimated that hundreds of billions would be freed up by the order but ended up splashing Sh 300 billion on projects. The budget assessment shows that the Government saved Sh13 Billion on pension following an exercise to weed out ghost retirees.

Even as the government made efforts to cut spending, revenues fell further by Sh123.5 billion, cancelling out the gains and pushing the treasury to borrow Sh 721 billion from a target of Sh650 billion. The Treasury has this year again announced new round of budget cuts on non-essential items like trips, training and car expenses but many feel this may be cosmetic in terms of delivering an affordable budget. When governments run out of money to spend and room to borrow, they either find new avenues to raise taxes or cut expenditure.

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