Mt Kenya counties counties fail to utilise billions

Posted by On 2:32 AM

Mt Kenya counties counties fail to utilise billions

In Summary

  • In Mandera, more than Sh2.7 billion was left lying idle in the county account at the close of the 2017/18 financial year.

  • Tharaka-Nithi, whose budget is Sh4.6 billion, received Sh589 million as late disbursement and was therefore not spent.

  • Murang’a Finance executive David Waweru blamed Treasury for the Sh446 million sent back.

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At any given time, county officials will tell the world how inadequate and delayed funding from the Treasury has undermined their efforts to improve services.

While the claims could be partly true, it is surprising to learn that four Mt Kenya counties failed to spend at least Sh4.5 billion in the last financial year.< /p>

A glimpse into the 2018/19 budgets shows that the counties did not absorb money meant for projects.

According to the Controller of Budget, failure by counties to spend money outside their recurrent expenditure is a malady.

In all, Sh22.6 billion was left in the 47 counties’ revenue accounts as of March, with Kirinyaga having the dubious distinction of not having spent a coin.

In Mandera, more than Sh2.7 billion was left lying idle in the county account at the close of the 2017/18 financial year.

  • Use audit reports to allocate funds - Ouko
  • Rogue counties risk missing out on Budget cash
  • Sh11bn development cash idle as poor counties fail to use fund

EQUITABLE SHARE

According to Mandera Finance executive Ibrahim Barrow, the county was given Sh10 billion as equitable share out of the Sh11 billion annual budget.

The devolved government spent Sh7.3 billion.

On Monday, Mr Barrow blame d the poor absorption rate on the delay by National Treasury to release the money.

“The amount was carried forward to our next budget because it was released in June when the financial year was coming to a close,” he said.

The executive added that unlike the ministries in the national government, devolved units never return unused cash for the equitable share to the National Treasury.

“The money was committed to some projects in that financial year and returning it to Treasury will lead to problems with contractors and suppliers,” he said.

PROCESSING PAYMENT

Tharaka-Nithi, whose budget is Sh4.6 billion, received Sh589 million as late disbursement and was therefore not spent. Finance Executive Dorothy Igoki said the breakdown of the Integrated Financial Management System affected the processing of payment.

“The Treasury sends money to counties just to fulfil its mandate. It does not consider the fact that using the money is a process,” Ms Igoki said.

Murang’a Finance executive David Waweru blamed Treasury for the Sh446 million sent back.

He said Treasury takes time to release the money. “Even before we do the verification of documents for tenders, the money goes back to the Treasury,” Mr Waweru said. “There should be no cause for alarm as the money goes to the county’s accounts.”

REVENUE COLLECTION

The shortage of funds is compounded by the shortfall in revenue collection by county governments.

Nyeri MCAs have threatened to impeach executives whose departments failed to utilise their funds.

Budget Committee chairman Gibson Wahenya said the assembly passed crucial budget documents on time but the executives failed to implement projects.

Reported by Ndung’u Gachane, Manasseh Otsialo, Alex Njeru and Grace Gitau

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