Its end month and you’re smiling your way to the bank. As you get home, you get a pen and paper and start jotting down your budget. If you are like an ‘ordinary’ Kenyan, you have the basics on your fingertips, rent, water, electricity, transport, groceries and so on and so forth. Oh wait, you remember you have to cater for your parent’s upkeep. After making some adjustments you are happy with your budget and vow to stick to it this time. A budget is the most powerful tool as it shows an individual’s commitment towards implementing a certain project; this is the same way the national government thinks. Not many of us participate in the National budget process; we often do not know how much has been allocated say for education, health or housing. So today I will break it down, we can say it’s budget terms for dummies or better yet Budget terms for the ‘Xaxa’ generation. So call your neighbor’s cousin’s niece and let’s get schooled.
Let’s talk figuratively. You live alone but have many responsibilities and you also like to have fun. With all these in consideration, let us break down the budget.
Revenue: Revenue is the amount of money that the government gets in a specific period of time. The government has different sources of revenue, these include taxes, grants and investment proceeds. The same way you have your salary, or a small M-Pesa business or better yet one of your aunties sends you money monthly.
County Revenue Fund: A CRF is an account held by the government into which all money received shall be deposited on behalf of the county government. For you it may be your Mpesa account, Money Gram, Western Union and so on.
Government Debt: The money that the government owes suppliers, its staff in terms of unpaid salaries, foreign donors etc…. In other words it is the money you borrow in the middle of the month from your friends which you say you will return immediately you are paid but you rarely do.
Let us take a look at key dates associated with the budget making process in Kenya:
September 01st: The CEC members of Finance submit the County Annual Development Plan to the County Assembly for approval. Here is when you sit down with your girl friends and come up with a list of things you want to get. The latest handbag, a new pair of shoes and all material things that can give you temporary happiness.
September 30th: The County Treasury submits to the Executive (the Governor and his ministers) the budget review and Outlook paper for approval. This is the text you send with all your needs to your parents.
May 15th: This is the deadline for the County to present comments to the County Treasury. So after you have sent your list of requirements, you sit and wait for the response. You start asking yourself if what you asked your parents for was too much then you hear your phone beep. They respond saying they will send the money and you breathe out a sigh of relief.
Those are a few Budget terms simplified for you. Hopefully you now are up to speed with some of the terms. Citizen participation in the budget exercise improves the effectiveness of the process, do not whine when you have poor roads, dry taps or blocking sewers get participating to have your needs addressed.