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Governor Kinyanjui defends Sh12bn county expenditure

Governor Lee Kinyanjui taking an oath before the Senate Committee on August 13, 2019. Photo/MILKA NJOKI.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13- Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui was on Tuesday tasked by a Senate committee to explain how his administration spent Sh12.5 billion received from Treasury for the 2017/18 financial year.

While appearing before the CIPAK committee chaired by Senator Moses Kajwang (Homabay), the governor was hard-pressed to shed light on why 53.5 percent of the money was used for employees’ compensation instead of the recommended 35 percent.

“Interestingly the controller of budget in her report puts your compensation of employees at 53.5 percent I am getting worried on what basis the controller of budget reached to that conclusion because she does not generate numbers she only takes numbers that come from your office so most likely these numbers were sent by your CEC; there is no way the numbers sent to the controller of budget could be different from those sent to the auditor general,” Kajwang said.

Kinyanjui however, defended the move saying the county did not have enough manpower during his first term thus had to create a provision for effective service delivery.

“Just to bring to your attention chairman and members, at the time we took over Nakuru County did not have a single ECD teacher notwithstanding that our salaries were at 55 percent and also we did not have enough nurses as required; the ration of our patients to nurses was totally unacceptable. Although the numbers are not so good, I want to put it here that counties are about service delivery and for us to deliver good services we needed to ensure our staff were well remunerated,” said Kinyanjui.

His response did not go well with some of the committee members who felt that he should have restricted himself to the required employees’ threshold and ensure that the county does not incur a huge wage bill as it is the case now.

“I believe if you came in to clean the mess that was there then you should have reduced the percentage by even 5 percent not to increase it,” said Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dulo.

Her sentiments were echoed by nominated Senator Millicent Omanga who said the issue of employees’ compensation is affecting all counties.

“Clearly chair this is a dangerous trend because just the other day we had Siaya governor and we saw when he took office, he had to employ about 500 workers. It means that every time a new governor is elected the wage bill goes high because they will be employing their campaigners,” said Omanga.

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The governor was answering queries raised by the auditor general.

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