CoB tough rules to devolved units on approval of budgets

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o when she appeared before PAC over audited accounts of her office. Photo/PD/Samuel Kariuki

Controller of Budget (CoB) Margaret Nyakang’o announced yesterday that 32 counties that have not approved their budgets by the end of the financial year, will not receive their monthly allocation.

Nyakang’o said the drastic move is aimed at infusing order in the management of public funds; which has been lacking in many of the devolved units.

 She also warned that counties with outstanding audit queries will also not access their allocations- a move which is likely to affect most of the devolved entities.

Devolved units that have complied according to Nyakang’o are Garissa, Kitui, Elgeyo Marakwet, Busia, Nyeri, Lamu and Nairobi.

Others are Bomet, Kiambu, Kwale, Uasin Gishu, Machakos, Isiolo, Samburu and Tana River.

Cautioned staff

Nyakang’o told the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that  only 15 counties have approved and had their budgets uploaded on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) by August this year.

“Counties will have to approve and upload their budgets on the Ifmis to get their equitable share,” Nyakang’o said.

The CoB is mandated by the Constitution to approve the withdrawal of all the monies allocated to the national and county governments.

She further cautioned staff at the county governments to desist from paying suppliers discriminatively.

“It has become the norm at the counties that only suppliers who give kick-backs and those associated or related to powerful individuals are considered when it comes to payments,” Nyakang’o told the committee which is chaired by Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja).

 Garissa Township MP Aden Duale accused the CoB of allowing counties to contravene the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act by using the mode of payment that suit their interests.

Duale said counties were even using Mpesa, cash, spreadsheet among others to pay their staff.

“Devolution has turned counties into employment bureaus. It has made Kenyans poor.

County workers are paid through Mpesa, cash and spreadsheets. What are you doing to harmonise this? Duale posed.

Gatanga MP Joseph Ngugi asked Nyakang’o to explain to the committee the level of compliance with the law in budget making.

“So what happens to the counties that have not approved their budgets? Why are they facing difficulties preparing their budgets?” Ngugi asked.

In response, Nyakang’o said that the delay in having the budgets approved has been caused by the County Executive and County Assembly supremacy wars in budget making.

“When the budgets are prepared by the county executives and transmitted to the county assemblies for approval, the MCAs amend them and include their own things,” said Nyakang’o.

She lamented that when the amended budgets are taken to the counties for warrants before they become law, they are rejected; a move that end up bringing delays in the approval of budgets.

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