The blunder Uhuru made as Finance Minister, CS Rotich repeated

A critical blunder that hit President Uhuru Kenyatta when he was in charge of Kenya’s Finance docket found its way into Treasury CS Henry Rotich’s legacy.

CS Rotich made a proposal in the Finance Bill that required Kenyans in the formal sector to pay 1 per cent of their salary towards the construction of affordable housing as indicated in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.

But before the dust could settle, it has emerged that the 1 per cent was a ‘typographical’ error.

According to the CS, the one percent charge contained in the Finance Bill was a mistake that will be corrected. The CS said that the right charge was 0.5 per cent and not one per cent.

Mr. Rotich had pegged the charge at 0.5 per cent to be deducted on salaries of individuals in the formal sector, with a similar 0.5 per cent from employers up to a maximum of 5,000 shillings monthly.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at Continental House in May 2009 where he was to meet with the joint Parliamentary committee investigating the Sh. 9.2 billion error in the country’s supplementary budget. Photo: Nation

The typographical error is a consistent narrative

In 2009, the then Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta who doubled up as the Deputy Prime Minister came under pressure following the revelation in the House by the then Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara that the Supplementary Budget he presented and was passed by MPs had an extra Sh9.2 billion.

Reports suggested that some senior officers at Treasury may have altered the column that represented figures of 2008/2009 Budget even before the supplementary estimates were taken to the printer.

Daily Nation reported that Mr Kenyatta termed the Sh9.2 billion error affecting 200 line items as an oversight arising from a typing error. He pleaded innocence over the matter in Parliament further claiming that he was being sabotaged.

The discrepancies touched mainly on the line items tagged ‘personal allowance’ with the Ministry of Education being the most affected.

Mr Kenyatta’s allies too claimed that he was being sabotaged by a clique of Treasury mandarins and his political rivals.

In a Naivasha retreat, some members of parliament’s Budget committee of the time asked Mr Kenyatta to resign over the error.

The then Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and MPs John Mbadi, David Koech and Elias Mbau questioned the failure by the Finance Minister (Uhuru Kenyatta) to attend a pre-budget workshop to which he had been invited.

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