Senators back law review to give MCAs fiscal autonomy

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 00:00 |
Mohamed Mohamud.

Senators have backed the proposed amendments to the law to give MCAs budgetary autonomy.

This, they argue, will enable the ward reps to effectively ensure governors and county Executives are held accountable on how they spend public funds.

The Senate Finance and Budget committee has said it will propose an amendment to the Public Finance Management Act and table it in the House for consent; to give MCAs financial independence.

“The committee has been planning to amend the Act to give the Assemblies financial autonomy, but now, I think the time is ripe for us to do so,” committee chair Mohamed Mohamud (Mandera) said on Tuesday as the team met ward reps from Kitui and Makueni counties.

Yesterday, MCAs from the two counties told the Senate Finance team their primary work of oversight and legislation has been affected by the ‘dependency syndrome’.

Mohamud regretted the current situation where the County Executive and the Assemblies depended on the County Revenue Fund that is controlled by governors was to blame for weak oversight in the counties.

MCAs have been pushing for amendments to the law to compel National Treasury to send funds directly to County Assemblies. 

“Lack of financial autonomy has really affected our work. Everything has to be signed by the Finance Executive,” Kitui County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee vice-chair James Munuve told the senators.

Munuve said the Executive has often turned down their request for funds to oversight the county government.

“You cannot be given money by the same person that you want to oversight,” he said. 

The MCAs also implored the Senate to pass legislation to allow them access funds for development in their wards. 

Development plans

Mohamud, in response, said the Ward Development Fund Bill was approved by the Senate and is currently lying in the National Assembly.

MCAs raised  concern over, among others, the Executives’ late submission of budget documents, non-adherence to the county fiscal strategy papers and the county integrated development plans (CIDPs), and snubbing of summons.

Senators Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) and Isaac Mwaura (Nominated) urged the Ward Reps to exploit the powers provided for in law to curb such problems.

“If a CEC snubs a meeting, for instance, you can censure him or even impeach to instil discipline,” Wetang’ula said.

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