Counties spend Sh3bn more on perks despite Covid curbs


Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Counties spent Sh3.32 billion more on salaries and allowances in the three months to June compared to a similar period last year despite restrictions imposed to curb spread of the coronavirus disease.

Data from the Controller of Budget (CoB) shows the 47 units splashed Sh45.55 billion on personnel emoluments in the period, up from Sh42.23 billion a year earlier.

Allowances for the county employees and MCAs were expected to fall in the quarter after Kenya imposed a raft of Covid-19 restrictions in March that disrupted trainings, travel and meetings that form the bulk of the perks.

The perks include allowances for foreign and domestic travel, trainings and meetings have for years increased monthly earnings for county workers. The amounts vary depending on the cities where the activities are taking place.

Kenya suspended international flights on March 25, put on ice movement into four counties including Nairobi and Mombasa, banned social and mass gatherings after the recording the first coronavirus infection earlier in the month.

The CoB did not provide details of the increased spending but said that it hurt counties ability to deliver on development projects.

Spending on development projects like hospitals and review period fell by Sh6.16 billion from Sh60.89 billion in the three months to June 2019,highlighting how personnel emoluments hurt efforts to boost service delivery at a time the counties were expected to improve their health facilities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The report has identified challenges which hampered effective budget execution during the reporting period… they included; high expenditure on personnel emoluments,” CoB says in the latest report.

CoB data shows that Nairobi led in the spending on salaries and perks at Sh4.51 billion followed by neighbouring Kiambu with Sh1.87 billion.

Kakamega was the third biggest spender at Sh1.68 billion followed by Mombasa (Sh1.44 billion) and Nakuru closed the list of the top five at Sh1.21 billion.