Politics and policy
County executives lock citizens out of resource planning
Posted Tuesday, September 17 2013 at 21:04
County executives have locked out citizens from setting development priorities even as they continue to push for more resources from the national government.
A survey conducted by Transparency International (TI) among 1,766 respondents from 32 counties across the country indicates that 83 per cent of citizens are unaware of the funds received by their devolved governments.
Out of this, 56 per cent do not even know where to obtain such kind of information from.
“Citizens can effectively play an oversight role on counties with knowledge of revenues available for each activity, but the public response to our poll is indicative of lack of peoples’ voice in setting of development priorities,” said TI executive director Samuel Kimeu.
The findings put devolved governments on the spot once again, having been set up to take services closer to communities and engage them in setting development priorities.
Despite being the key target of development projects, the TI survey shows that ignorance of allocations to counties is high among female respondents and rural dwellers.
“It is imperative that public knowledge of county allocations is enhanced as empowered citizenry at the local level is very important in holding devolved governments to account for their resources,” TI said Tuesday in a statement.
Budget Controller Agnes Odhiambo said in a report the 47 counties have been collecting billions of shillings internally and receiving billions more from the Treasury in the last six months.
Between March and June, the counties collected a total of Sh6.756 billion internally, received Sh9.784bn mainly for the recurrent budget from the National Government, while the Transitional Authority handed them Sh2.895 billion for development.
In addition, 18 the counties received Sh3.763 billion as Local Authority Transfer Fund. The money was spent without the knowledge of county residents with the Budget Controller’s report indicating that most counties never spent their 2012/13 allocation on development.
In the current financial year, where at least Sh210 billion is lined up for counties, a number of the devolved units began to receive their partial allocation (Sh16 billion) last week.
The counties have lately been pushing for their allocation to be raised from the current 15 per cent of national revenues to 40 per cent.
Failure to involve communities is set to work against county leaders’ push to wrestle control of the Constituency Development Fund from MPs and the Sh29.5 billion rural roads fund from Kenya Rural Roads Authority.
The counties have lately drawn sharp criticism for their superfluous budgets which have put millions of shillings in non-critical areas such as motor vehicles and housing for county executives at the expense of critical areas like education and health.