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Counties spent Sh5.3 billion last year on trips

COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS (COG) CHAIRMAN JOSPHAT NANOK. FILE PHOTO | NMG
COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS (COG) CHAIRMAN JOSPHAT NANOK. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Counties spent Sh5.28 billion on domestic and foreign trips between July and December last year, a report by the Controller of Budget has shown.

Machakos county spent Sh266 million on foreign and domestic trips followed by Nairobi and Nakuru counties at Sh260 million and Sh238 million respectively.

“The county governments spent Sh5.28 billion on domestic and foreign travel against an approved annual budget allocation of Sh12.25 billion. This expenditure represents 43.1 per cent of the total budget allocation towards domestic and foreign travel,” indicated the report.

Mombasa county spent the least in local and international travel at Sh37.5 million while Laikipia and Tana River counties followed at Sh40.85 million and Sh41.52 million respectively.

Members of the county assembly pocketed Sh1.29 billion in sitting allowances against an approved budget allocation of Sh3.4 billion.

“This expenditure translates to 37.9 per cent of the approved MCA’s sitting allowance budget, a marginal decrease from 38.2 per cent attained in a similar period of 2015/16 financial year where Kshs.1.37 billion was spent,” the report read in part.

However, the report revealed that Trans Nzoia, Murang’a and Homabay MCAs exceeded the Salaries and Remuneration Commission recommended monthly maximum of Sh124, 800.

Trans Nzoia MCAs pocketed Sh158,893 while Murang’a and Homabay ward representatives carried home Sh135,020 and Sh127,747 respectively in the six months under review.

According to the report, counties also recorded a low revenue collection at Sh13.4 billion which is less than a quarter of the annual target of Sh59.34 billion.

“The County Governments generated a total of Kshs.13.4 billion, which was 22.6 per cent of the annual target,” noted the Controller of Budget.

Revenues collected by counties are used to fund the county operations and supplement allocations from the national government. Failure to reach the target may jeopardize the implementation of some projects in the counties.

The budget estimates for the 47 counties for the current financial year is Sh396.89 billion and by December the counties had spent Sh128 billion.

The controller of budget urged counties to develop and implement strategies that will enhance local revenue collection and establish optimal staffing levels to ensure a sustainable wage bill.

Ms Odhiambo also raised alarm on low expenditure on development projects and high expenditure on personnel emoluments citing them as challenges that hinder effective budget implementation.

Nyeri county for instance spent Sh650,000 on development projects while it spent Sh1.25 billion on salaries and other recurrent expenses.

Cumulatively, the 47 counties spent Sh35 billion in development projects against a budget of Sh165 billion and Sh92.6 billion on salaries and operations against a recurrent budget of Sh230.9 billion.

This translates to an absorption rate of 21.5 per cent in the annual development expenditure and a 40.1 per cent absorption rate in the annual recurrent expenditure.

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