Wambora put to task over audit queries on revenue
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Embu Governor Martin Wambora was yesterday put to task to explain why his administration missed to meet its revenue target for 2017/2018 financial year.
Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) that has been scrutinising Auditor General’s report, faulted Wambora’s administration for failing to hit the target .
Chairperson Sam Ongeri reminded the governor that fiscal effort, is one of the parameters that has been allocated one per cent in the third basis revenue sharing formula among counties, that will be used to share some Sh366.5 billion of the county shareable revenue.
In his report, former Auditor General Edward Ouko had fingered the Embu County Executive for collecting Sh532 million against the target of Sh892 million resulting in a revenue for the year under review.
Wambora was also at pains to explain why the county government failed to utilise some Sh358 million earmarked in its annual budget for development projects.
“There is need for the County Executive to re-work its budgeting mechanism, to not only focus on priority areas but also tighten the internal controls system on possible revenue leakages,” the auditor’s report read in part.
“The issue of fiscal effort is rewarded in the shareable revenue, to an extent, it has been given a percentage as well as fiscal prudence, which has been allocated one per cent,” Ongeri said.
He added: “The auditors are raising the issue, that your own source revenue collection, went down, yet you have an annual budget which had cost functions assigned resources, we want to know what happened, ” Ongeri added.
But in his response, Governor Wambora said that his administration’s challenges were not linked to under collection because the county’s own generated revenue was on a steady rise.
“However, in the year under review, we could not hit our target because our figures for revenue collection are always exaggerated, and we blame the MCAs for not being realistic,” the governor said his defense.
He added: “Fortunately, the Controller of Budget has written to them directing them to stop pressuring the Executive with high targets and unrealistic figures.”
According to Wambora, the close to Sh900 million fronted as possible revenue collection is not achievable.
“Our figures have been going up every time, but because of exaggeration we will never benefit from the one percent fiscal effort,” the county boss noted.
But in a quick rejoinder, Makima MCA Philip Nzangi who attended the committee grilling, asked the governor to be fair in his comments against MCAs, insisting that the said figures on revenue targets were and are still being generated by the Executive.
“The Executive and the county assembly always have a sitting to agree on what should be done.
It is wrong for the governor to impute that it is MCAs who exert pressure on them,” Nzangi said.
Ongeri said it is the Executive that develops the budget and that it is only taken to the assembly for concurrence.
“You cannot apportion execution of the budget to the county assembly,” the Kisii lawmaker noted.
However, Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga said he was concerned that the county had budget to collect Sh900 million yet they ended fetching only Sh532 million.
“Definitely something is wrong here Mr, Governor,” said Ndwiga.