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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 13 April 2015

CONTROLLER OF BUDGET AGNES ODHIAMBO HAS ASKED COUNTIES TO RECOVER COMMUTER ALLOWANCES PAID TO STAFF




contrary to recommendations by the Salaries and remuneration commission ( SRC). The office of the Controller of Budget in its report for July-December 2014 noted that a review of the administration of commuter allowances showed some officers were paid monthly commuter allowances despite having been assigned official vehicles. "All counties must adhere to SRC circulars on staff remuneration and benefits and should recover all payments made in contravention of the circulars," the report recommends. Bomet, Baringo, Meru, Makueni, Marsabit, Nakuru and Narok counties are among those cited by the Controller of Budget to have flouted the SRC recommendations. The report also reveals that more than 10 counties do not have internal audit committees as stipulated by the Public Finance Management Act of 2012 aimed at promoting accountability. Embu, Homa Bay, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kisumu, Kirinyaga, Kajiado, Isiolo, Kakamega, Migori, Murang'a and Nyandarua are some of the counties that the report noted to have failed to establish the audit committees. According to the report, counties reported increased local revenues, from Sh9 billion realised in the first half of 2013-14 financial year to Sh13 billion in the same period of the 2014-15. Despite the improvement, however, Tana River, Trans Nzoia, Vihiga and Mombasa recorded poor local revenue collection. Tana River County collected a paltry Sh8.93 million out of a target of Sh120 million while Trans Nzoia, which had a target of Sh670 million, collected only Sh62.06 million. Vihiga and Mombasa counties collected Sh45.12 million and Sh718 million out of a target of Sh377.74 million and Sh6.9 billion respectively. Machakos County had projected to raise Sh2.5 billion through local revenue stream but, at the end of the first half of the 2014-15 financial year, had collected Sh614.46 million, which translates to 24.3 per cent of its annual revenue target. Turkana County on the other hand had a revenue target of Sh500 million but collected only Sh63 million in the first six months under review.
a.       The Controller of Budget said poor local revenue streams for counties and unrealistic revenue targets might affect implementation of the budget. HOUSE LOANS Nairobi, Homa Bay, Machakos, Murang'a, Meru and Trans Nzoia counties reported higher expenditure than the amounts approved by the controller. The report notes the six counties spent funds at the source without depositing it in the County Revenue Fund as required by the Constitution. The implementation report also flagged some counties for obtaining bank overdrafts without following necessary approval provided in the Constitution and in the Public Finance Management Act. Narok County, according to the report, recorded low absorption of development funds by the key departments of health and sanitation, agriculture, livestock and fisheries. The report also revealed that Narok County paid Sh214.16 million as legal fees. Other questionable expenditure raised by the report include diversion of funds released for development activities by the Nyeri County to finance house loans for Members of the County assembly and county executive members. The report notes that the diversion of funds from one department to other departments signalled weak controls on the management of public funds. Taita Taveta County is reported to have spent Sh2.6 million under Emergency Fund and Sh15 million of Gratuity Fund without putting in place relevant regulations.