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No budget for Ruto’s roadside projects

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 06:02 | By
Kerugoya Level 5 County Referral Hospital Medical Complex in Kirinyaga County that was opened by President William Ruto on June 13.2023. PHOTO/Print
Kerugoya Level 5 County Referral Hospital Medical Complex in Kirinyaga County that was opened by President William Ruto on June 13.2023. PHOTO/Print

President William Ruto’s roadside promises to some counties and directives that various hospitals be upgraded at a cost of Sh8.254 billion could remain a mirage after the National Treasury failed to allocate any monies for them in the 2024/2025 budget.

Documents tabled before MPs from the Ministry of Health showed that despite the Ministry making a request to the National Treasury to have the monies factored to allow the projects to be implemented, nothing was provided for in the incoming budget, a clear indication that the said promises could never be realized.

The said health facilities are spread in seven counties including Uasin Gishu county, Tharaka Nithi County, Mombasa County, Kwale County, Kirinyaga County, West Pokot County and Siaya County.

Modern hospitals

They include modern hospital at Ortum and facilities during road dualling projects in West Pokot (Sh3 billion); Trauma Centre in Kirinyaga (Sh50 million); Urenga Level II hospital in Siaya County (Sh50 million); Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Kinango Level IV Hospital (Sh50 million); and equipping Chepkemel and Chepsaita dispensaries in Uasin Gishu County (Sh40 million) among others.

President Ruto in his visits, especially to Western and Coast regions, promised various development projects irrespective of their political affiliation. Equally in Mount Kenya region, Ruto promised a number of goodies for their support during the general election.

Medical Service Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai who appeared before MPs who sit in the Health committee chaired by Endebess MP Robert Pukose disclosed that the State Department is in receipt of various correspondences from the Chief of Staff and Head of the Public Service Felix Koskei requesting it to implement the various Presidential directives.

He said: “The State Department has forwarded these requests for funding to the National Treasury for consideration but they have not been funded……. The total amount required for the Presidential Directives is Sh 8.254 billion.”

Not fully funded

Added: “There are key areas that are unfunded/underfunded and thus are expected to affect service delivery. The key areas not fully funded include historical under-funding of salaries in the Semi-autonomous government agencies (SAGAs), the presidential directives projects.”

Ruto since he assumed power in August 2022 has been traversing the country where he has promised Kenyans goodies whenever he makes such visits. The implementation of the said projects however may not be realized as they require budgetary allocation to enable them kick off.

And in his submissions before MPs Kimatai pleaded with the MPs to help them get more funding to allow the ministry conclude all pending projects.

This is after the department suffered budgetary cuts amounting to Sh219 billion from Sh319.4. Billion that the department had requested for to Sh100 billion as contained in the printed estimates.

Out of the Sh100 billion, Sh60.5 billion is for recurrent expenditure and Sh39.5 billion is for development.

Among the projects yet to be funded include the Equipping and Improvement of Chepkemel and Chepsaita Dispensaries in Uasin Gishu County which Ruto while visiting Uasin Gishu County promised to have the project completed at a cost of Sh40 million.

Despite the promises Kimtai said the department made a request to the National Treasury on January 26 to have the project financed but nothing was provided.

Reads the documents: “Reference is made to letter Ref. No. OP/CAB.26/1/31 dated 19th January, 2024 from the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service on Presidential Directive to allocate funds for Chepkemel and Chepsaita dispensaries at a cost of Sh40,000,000. In Ref: MOH/SDMS/FIN/BGT/VOL.II (22) dated 26th January, 2024 we requested the National Treasury to consider the Presidential Directive. (Copy attached).”

The documents also show that the department is also in receipt of a letter dated December 19 2022 from Koskei, three months after Ruto assumed power asking it to upgrade the Chuka County Referral Hospital at a cost of Sh100 million to operationalize High Dependency Unit and Intensive Care Unit. Koskei wrote another letter to the department on November 8 2023 requesting it to make a Budgetary provision of between Sh5 billion and Sh10 billion for upgrading a health facility to Level VI Hospital in Mombasa County.

Reads the document: “The State Department forwarded this request to the National Treasury for consideration of funding.”

The department also received another letter dated November 15 2023, from Koskei for the construction of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Kinango Level IV Hospital, Kwale County at a cost of Sh50 million.

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