Kenyan defense ministry seeks more funding

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 17, 2012 8:26 AM
Kenyan defense ministry seeks more funding

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's defense ministry, which sent troops into Somalia in October to fight al Qaeda-linked rebels, has requested 12.5 billion shillings ($150 million) out of 21.5 billion extra total recurrent expenditure for the 2011/12 fiscal year.

The government also plans to reduce development spending by 17.3 billion, with 9.9 billion cut from money allocated to the office of the deputy prime minister and ministry of finance, supplementary budget estimates - released on Tuesday - show.

The rise in defense funding had been expected as the Kenyan army fights al Shabaab insurgents in neighboring Somalia.

"The overall amounts are small, and financing should not pose a problem. But from the perspective of Kenya's debt ratios already being reasonably high, this won't be especially comforting," said Standard Chartered's Africa research head Razia Khan.

"What is unfortunate is that it looks like development spending is being cut to make way for recurrent expenditure, with a large chunk of that being defense spending," she said.

The latest estimates for recurrent expenditure also show a 6.1 billion rise in funding for teachers, who ended a pay strike in September after reaching agreement with the government.

The main loser on recurrent expenditure, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, had its budget for the fiscal year that ends on June 30 chopped by 4 billion shillings. Kenya holds its next general elections in March 2013.

($1 = 83.1250 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo and Beatrice Gachenge; Editing by Louise Ireland and David Clarke)