Sonko declines to assent Sh15b city county budget
Bernard Gitau and Hillary Mageka
Governor Mike Sonko has refused to assent Nairobi County’s Sh15 billion budget, denying the new metropolitan authority funds needed for city operations.
The move has effectively, opened a new battle front between Sonko and Maj-Gen Mohammed Badi who chairs the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (MMS) that has been assigned with key responsibilities after the February power transfer deal.
The bill, which was passed by the County Assembly of Nairobi on April 2, 2020, saw the office of the governor and his deputy lose Sh203 million.
It also transferred ancillary services to the authority including accounting, legal, supply chain and human resource.
“The blanket transfer of all the support functions to NMS will deny the remaining functions the same ancillary services they require to deliver services,” said Sonko in a letter to the County Assembly.
The governor had earlier opposed the redeployment of over 6,000 workers from the county to NMS.
“The amendments by the Assembly to the bill that gives rise to these irregular transfers and allocation was done without the input of the county executive committee member of finance contrary to provisions of Public Finance Management Act,” he added.
Separately, senators yesterday rejected the retention of some Sh15.9 billion equitable share for Nairobi City in the National government for expenditure by the NMS.
On their part, the National Assembly had reserved the entire amount for the implementation of the four-county functions transferred to the National government.
“The equitable share for Nairobi City County should, therefore, be set aside and arrangements put in place to ensure that the resources necessary for the performance of the functions are transferred pursuant to Article 187 (2) of the Constitution, ” reads the Bill from the National Assembly.
On February 25, Sonko signed away four critical county functions to the National government. Under the agreement, the National government will take over health, transport, public works, utilities and ancillary services, planning and development functions.
Under the Bill in Senate, Sh15.9 trillion has been allocated to the National Government while Sh316.5 billion has been set aside for the devolved units in the next financial year starting July 1, 2020.
Traditionally, Nairobi has been receiving the lion’s share of the shareable revenue and this year is not any different, City Hall has allocated Sh15.9 billion.
The 47 counties have been allocated conditional grants from the National government amounting to Sh13.7 billion.
They include Sh6.2 billion for servicing of the leased medical equipment, Sh4.3 billion for Level 5 hospitals, Sh300m, or construction of county headquarters and Sh2 billion for the rehabilitation of youth polytechnics.
Senate Minority Chief Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jr argued that putting Nairobi’s allocation in the Consolidated Fund implies that the National Assembly will appropriate for it, a move he said will be unconstitutional.