School feeding programme suffers Sh2.3 billion budget cut

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Education PS Belio Kipsang' told a parliamentary committee that the programme consistently received extra funding, the exception being the 2024–2025 financial year.

The National Treasury has decreased the budget for the school feeding programme by Sh2.3 billion, the Education ministry has informed the Select Committee on implementation.

Appearing before the MPs on Tuesday, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang' said the programme consistently received extra funding, the exception being the 2024–2025 financial year.

“We received Sh1.96 billion in the 2022–2023 financial year and Sh5.4 billion in the 2023–2024 financial year. This time, however, we've experienced a reduction and have been allocated Sh3 billion,” Kipsang' said.

The committee, led by Budalangi MP Raphael Wanjala, raised concerns about the budget cut, questioning its potential impact on food provision for learners.

Marakwet West MP Timothy Kipchumba asked, "PS, can you clarify to this committee whether the budget cuts will result in food rationalisation for our learners?”

In response, Kipsang' assured the committee that ongoing discussions with the Treasury would reconsider restoring the allocation through the supplementary budget.

“We are not going to withdraw any benefit (food) from our learners. We are committed to ensuring that our learners continue to receive the benefits of the school feeding programme," he said.

According to the Ministry, the initiative currently supports 2.6 million children, primarily from arid and semi-arid regions as well as urban slums.

The announcement came amid conflicting reports, with the National Assembly Education Committee reinstating a Sh2 billion allocation for the programme, overruling the Treasury's decision.

Committee Chairman Julius Melly (Tinderet) noted that the amount was reinstated under the budget for the National Council for Nomadic Education in Kenya (NACONEK).

The Treasury scrapped the multi-billion-shilling budget for school feeding in the proposed budget estimates for the financial year 2024–2025.

The programme was allocated Sh4.9 billion in the financial year ending June 30, 2024.

“The committee has reinstated Sh2 billion under the NACONEK for this important programme. However, the amount reduced from the programme was Sh4.9 billion. The committee recommends that the Budget and Appropriations Committee consider allocating an additional Sh3 billion so that the entire amount is reinstated,” Melly said earlier

Melly noted that the programme was a critical intervention to support the retention of learners in schools in marginalised areas.

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