MCAs in court over budget stalemate

July 24, 2014 2:55 pm
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MCAs want the Controller of Budget compelled to implement the counties' budgets for the 2014/15 fiscal year/FILE
MCAs want the Controller of Budget compelled to implement the counties’ budgets for the 2014/15 fiscal year/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, July 24 – Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) on Thursday made good their threat to move to court over their 2014/15 budget stalemate with the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and Controller of Budget.

In a suit filed by Speakers of all 47 County Assemblies on behalf of their residents, the MCAs want the Controller of Budget compelled to implement the counties’ budgets for the 2014/15 fiscal year.

Otherwise, the MCAs contend, operations in the counties risk grinding to a halt at the end of the month due to a lack of funds, rendering the County Governments unable to carry out their functions and contravening the legitimate expectation of their tax-paying residents to services.

“Unless the court issues the orders sought, all County Governments will not be able to withdraw funds from the revenue funds for County Governments or any other funds to pay salaries for the month of July which are due in barely one week,” they state in their petition.

A state of affairs, they argue, which would make it impractical for them to rework their budgets in line with the CRA recommendations as demanded by the Controller of Budget.

Article 125(2) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, they also argued, requires public participation in the budget making process.

The MCAs who have previously challenged the, “dictatorial,” role of the CRA in their budget making processes, also want the CRA compelled to table the basis they use in recommending the sharing of revenue raised by the National and County governments.

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“We are not averse to limits or ceilings. The issue that is not being understood is that county assemblies are not saying that they are not bound by ceilings, but who makes ceilings?” Chairman of the County Assembly Speakers Forum Abdi Nuh stated on Monday.

Meanwhile the MCAs want the court to quash circulars they say were issued by the CRA and Controller of Budget between April 22 and July 16 requiring them to rework the budgets.

Demands by the CRA and Controller of Budget, they argue, that if not quashed would contravene the Public Finance Management Act as they would be operating outside the timelines set therein.

Justice Isaac Lenaola certified the application as urgent.

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