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Citizen Weekly

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

KENYAN COUNTIES SPENT PALTRY AMOUNT OF REVENUE ON DEVELOPMENT



County governments spent only a fifth of their development budgets in the first half of the year, pointing to sluggish execution of new projects in the devolved units. Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, in her half-year analysis, reported that the 47 counties had spent only Sh30.5 billion against a target of Sh139 billion projected for funding development projects in the full year. But even with that low uptake, governors collectively performed much better than the previous year when only Sh4.8 billion of the development budgets was spent. The Commission for Revenue Allocation has now drawn up new proposals on how the counties will be funded in the next financial year, giving county governments even more funds amid a stand-off relating to the acquisition of Sh38 billion worth of medical equipment on their behalf by the national government. Last week, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong termed the purchase of the equipment a "rip-off", sentiments that were shared by dozens of his colleagues. But even with the stalemate, governors have come under sharp criticism over how they have managed and spent funds in the two years they have been in office. See also: 'MCAs likely to go without sitting allowances' Already, 14 of them are under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), alongside many other officials on the infamous list of shame. Claims against the governors, including Nairobi's Evans Kidero and Bomet's Isaac Ruto, relate to procurement. While all have denied the allegations, EACC has said it has evidence to prosecute some of them. But in Ms Odhiambo's latest report covering the six-month period to December 2014, it was clear that expenditure on development projects lagged behind recurrent budget for votes like salaries and allowances. About three months before the end of the financial year, some counties had already exhausted their allowance budgets to disrupt normal operations. Late last month, the Bomet County Assembly announced it had indefinitely suspended sittings over a cash shortage.