Sonko protests after MCAs reject his budget proposal

Thursday, November 5th, 2020 00:00 |
Governor Mike Sonko addresses the press in Nairobi. Photo/PD/Bernard Malonza

Leadership wrangles in Nairobi appear to be far from over after Governor Mike Sonko yesterday took a swipe at the Assembly for rejecting an amendment he had introduced on the county’s 2020-21 budget.

Some 88 out of 122 MCAs on Tuesday voted against Sonko’s memorandum reaching the two-thirds majority vote needed to reject the memorandum as per the law.

This means that the budget remains at Sh37.5 billion with Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) getting Sh27.1 billion, leaving Sonko’s administration with Sh8.4 billion.

Last month, Sonko declined to assent to the budget, and recommended to the Assembly to reduce it from Sh37.5 billion to Sh31.6 billion in accordance with the County Fiscal Strategy Paper 2020/21 and budget estimates that were presented by the Executive.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani also rejected Director-General Mohammed Badi’s bid to release cash to pay staff seconded to NMS noting that are no legal provisions that funds can be released to the office.

“The legal provisions, therefore, imply that equitable share allocation due to the Nairobi County Government including monies for personnel emoluments shall be transferred to  Nairobi City County Government (NCCG) Revenue Fund Account,” Ukur said.

However, the County Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2020 provided a manner in which funds can be transferred from the county to the national government.

 “The monies appropriated under subsection (1), shall be transferred to the National Government,” reads 7(3) of CARA, 2020. 

However, subsection 7( 1) indicates that where a devolved unit has transferred functions to the National Government pursuant to Article 187 of the Constitution, the county Executive, in consultation with the National Government, shall determine the cost of the transferred functions.

Governor Sonko while declining to assent to the Bill, noted that the budget had violated article 5.2 and 5.3 of the Deed of Transfer of functions, which provides that funding for each transferred function shall be determined by the national government in consultation with the county government.

Critical services

“The governor has no problem with giving NMS funds for the transferred functions but the deed of transfer clearly states the county government needs to be consulted,”  Sonko’s Spokesman Ben Mulwa noted.

“The MCAs have resorted to treating Nairobi to a circus and critical services risk being crippled,” he added.

Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee chairperson Robert Mbatia noted that the rejection of the memorandum should not be misconstrued as a battle between the governor and the Assembly. 

“The rejection of the governor’s memorandum is a win for Nairobi residents who are in need of service delivery,” he said.

It is now a wait and see situation as Nairobi residents, NMS and the Assembly await Sonko’s move in relation to the budget.

Seven days

Once Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura forwards the Bill to Sonko, he has seven days to assent to it.

However, at this stage, whether he assents to it or not, after seven days the Bill will become law.

Nairobi City-County Assembly Standing Order 145 says that if the County Assembly passes a bill a second time without amendments or with by a vote supported by two-thirds of MCAS, the speaker shall within seven days resubmit the Bill to the Governor and shall within seven days assent to the bill.

“If the Governor does not assent to a Bill or refer it back within the period referred to under this section, the Bill shall be taken to have been assented to on the expiry of that period,” read the Standing Orders in part.

More on News