Report reveals amount counties fail to spend in last financial year

Monday, October 7th, 2019 13:00 |
Cash. Photo/PD/Courtesy

County governments failed to spend Sh68.93 billion out of Sh445.36 billion allocated to them in the last financial year.

Instead, the counties only consumed Sh376.43 billion which comprised of Sh267 billion for recurrent expenditure and Sh107 billion for development expenditure by the end of the 2018/19 financial year.

Data from the Controller of Budget (CoB) indicates the total annual county government budget expenditure was 77.9 per cent which is an increase from 74 per cent reported attained in financial year 2017/18 where total expenditure was shs 303.83 billion.

“The County governments spent Sh107 billion on development activities, representing an absorption rate of 57.8 per cent of the annual development budget, which is an improvement from 48.1 percent, reported in financial year 2017/18 when development expenditure was Sh66.89 billion,” the report by Ag COB Stephen Masha read in part.

It adds: “The counties also spent an aggregate of Sh267 billion or 71.5 per cent of the total expenditure on recurrent activities,”

The recurrent costs, according to the COB, represents 90.4 per cent of the annual county government’s budget for recurrent activities, and an improvement from 87.3 percent recorded in the previous year when expenditure stood at Sh236.94 billion.

According to the COB report, Nairobi City County attained the highest expenditure on recurrent activities at Sh23.5 billion, followed by Kiambu and Mombasa counties at Sh9.8 billion and Sh9.4 billion respectively.

Counties with the lowest expenditure on recurrent activities included Tana River (Sh3.20 billion), Elgeyo (Sh3.09 billion), and Lamu (Sh2.21 billion).

However, Narok, Marsabit, and Mandera were best spenders in annual development budget with the highest absorption rate of 95.4 percent, 81.5 percent, and 81.3 per cent respectively.

Lamu County, Turkana County, and Nakuru County reported the lowest absorption rate of their development budget at 30.4 percent, 29.1 percent, and 18.4 percent in that sequence.

“The aggregate development expenditure allocation conforms to Section 107 (2(b)) of the PFM Act, 2012, which requires that at least 30 percent of the budget shall be allocated to development expenditure,” the report detailed.

This revelation cast doubt on the continuous clamor by governors and senators to have more resources devolved to the counties amid challenges of misuse and under-absorption of funds.

National Assembly and the Senate were recently embroiled in a tug of war  over the contentious Division of Revenue Bill, 2019, which  the former insisted on Sh316.5 billion it had proposed during the previous mediation talks, while senators want nothing less than Sh335 billion for the devolved units.

The stalemate slipped counties into a cash crisis that almost paralyzed key services in the 47 county governments.

During the mediation talks, members of the National Assembly asked their counterparts from the senate to relax their push for more resources and instead shift their focus on ensuring counties can absorb what is allocated to them before they can push for additional monies.

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