The role of the Kenyan Parliament in public finance matters in Kenya is very important. Parliament plays this role through two committees of the National Assembly and the Senate Respectively.
These Committees are the National Assembly Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Committee. The committees play an important role in parliamentary oversight of national finances in Kenya.
The Public Finance Management Act (PFM Act) stipulates the functions of the National Assembly and the Senate Budget Committees. The Standing Orders of the Senate and the National Assembly should also contain the functions of both committees.
Parliamentary Oversight of National Finances in Kenya
The Budget and Appropriations Committees of the National Assembly and the Senate play the role of parliament in public finance in Kenya.
See the key budget documents in Kenya for more explanation on the documents mentioned below.
The National assembly budget committee
The Responsibilities of the National Assembly budget committee in public finance matters in Kenya are to-
- discuss and review the Budget Policy Statement and budget estimates and make recommendations to the National Assembly;
- provide general direction on budgetary matters;
- monitor all budgetary matters falling within the competence of the National Assembly under the Public Finance Management Act and report on those matters to the National Assembly;
- monitor adherence by Parliament, the Judiciary and the national government and its entities to the principles of public finance and others set out in the Constitution, and to the fiscal responsibility principles of the PFM Act;
- review the Division of Revenue Bill presented to Parliament and ensure that it reflects the principles under Articles 187(2)(a), 201 and 203 of the Constitution;
- examine financial statements and other documents submitted to the National Assembly (under Part III of the PFM Act) and make recommendations to the National Assembly for improving the management of Kenya’s public finances;
- in accordance with Articles 114, 218 and 221 of the Constitution — (i) make recommendations to the National Assembly on “money Bills”, after taking into account the views of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for finance matters; and (ii) table in the National Assembly a report containing the views of the Cabinet Secretary in subparagraph (i); and
- introduce the Appropriations Bill in the National Assembly.
The Senate Budget Committee
The Responsibilities of the Senate budget committee in public finance matters in Kenya are to-.
- present to the Senate, subject to the exceptions in the Constitution, the proposal for the basis of allocating revenue among the Counties and consider any bill dealing with county financial matters;
- review the County Allocation of Revenue Bill and the Division of Revenue Bill in accordance with Article 218(1)(b) of the Constitution at least two months before the end of the financial year;
- examine financial statements and other documents submitted to the Senate under Part IV of the PFM Act, and make recommendations to the Senate for improving the management of government’s public finances; and
- monitor adherence by the Senate to the principles of public finance set out in the Constitution, and to the fiscal responsibility principles of the PFM Act.
In carrying out its functions when dealing with the proposal for revenue sharing among counties, the Committee should consider recommendations from the:
- Commission on Revenue Allocation,
- County Executive Committee member responsible for finance,
- the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council,
- the public, and
- any other interested persons or groups.
For more about the role of parliament in public finance in Kenya, see the Public Finance Management Act.