, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The Controller of Budget has confirmed claims by 22 County Governments that they have not received their County Revenue Funds.
Agnes Odhiambo however explained that the counties that have not received the funds are yet to deliver their revised budgets after initially presenting budgets that were unrealistic.
“A review in July revealed that only eight counties had balanced budgets therefore they were certified to receive their budgetary allocations.”
“Nairobi, Kericho, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Kitui Tana River, Nandi, Nyeri are the only counties that have budgets that are compliant and they have been receiving their allocations.”
The remaining counties have revised their budgets but they are yet to be approved by county assemblies which are on a go slow.
“The others had huge budget deficits in their budgets without explanations on how the deficits would be funded while others presented unrealistic revenue targets without indicating the sources,” said Odhiambo.
She added that the counties whose budgets needed amendment were asked to so before a September 30 deadline and that only the August tranche of the national share allocation would be released before the amendments.
“It was resolved that any subsequent release of funds would depend on whether a county has revised its budget and the same approved by the County Assembly,” she said.
Odhiambo in a statement to the media explained that “as at October 15, seventeen counties had revised their budgets and submitted them to our office, nine had finalized and submitted to the County Assemblies for approval and 13 are still revising the budgets.”
The controller acknowledged that counties are experiencing a number of challenges in the revision of the budgets hence it is taking time.
“Wrangles between the County Executive and County Assemblies, a go- slow by the assembly members and delay by the National Government to provide the payroll data for the devolved units are some of the trials they are facing in the process,” she explained.
In August the Controller of Budget released Sh16.4 billion, Sh16.4 billion in September and Sh19.3 billion in October from the Consolidated Fund to the County Revenue Funds.
She noted that the absorption of funds in the counties has been affected by the delay in the passing of the Revenue Bill by the Senate even after it was passed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in good time.
Further Odhiambo emphasised, “the ongoing industrial action By Members of County Assemblies is also affecting the revision of the budgets.”
She asked the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to settle the stalemate between them and the MCAs for the sake of the counties’ progress.
SRC chairperson Sarah Serem had in September said they will not alter the packages of all county government officials until a job revaluation exercise, slated for October, proves that they deserve a hike.
She explained that Governors, Deputy Governors, County Executive Members, County Secretaries, Chairs, Secretaries, County Assembly Members, Public Service Boards and County Speakers would all be targeted in the job revaluation exercise.
She added that this would be the basis of determining whether indeed the pay rise was deserved something that has since caused a stalemate.
A Senate Committee last week stepped in to end a two-month impasse between Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) and the Commission.
Speaking after meeting the two groups, Senate Committee on Devolution chairman Kipchumba Murkomen directed the SRC to submit the full evaluation report which was used to determine the salaries for all public servants to the team by Monday.
“The report which the commission has been unwilling to release citing security concerns, has been the bone of contention with the MCAs claiming that it should be used as a guided to the jobs re-evaluation set to begin next month,” he told a news conference.
Serem said she would like to see a speedy conclusion to the crisis viewed a threat to the devolution because most County Assemblies are yet to approve their Supplementary Budgets after the Controller of Budget rejected the Finance Bill for being extravagant.
“For as, as SRC the most important thing we wanted was dialogue because we realized it is not something that can be taken lightly, we agree to what has been said by the committee chairman and we want to confirm that we are ready to move forward.” she said.