Enforce salary spending compliance by counties


The Controller of Budget Dr Margaret Nyakangó at a past event. FILE PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

The counties' penchant for splurging on salaries and perks at the expense of development and settling pending bills defeats the whole purpose of devolution.

The latest report by the Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o shows that of the 47 counties only five were within the constitutionally allowed limit on remuneration in the year to June 2023.

Worse still, spending on development hit a record low of 22 percent or just Sh97.97 billion, with travel and perks gobbling up the lion’s share of revenue.

While the law clearly states that counties are not allowed to use over 35 percent of total revenues on wages and benefits, it tends to be more honoured in the breach than in the observance.

It appears that tightening the belt for most devolved units is a tall order given political ramifications especially for those eyeing return terms or higher offices.

It is time to move from the annual ritual of naming counties breaching the law on expenditure to enforcing compliance if Kenyans are to be assured of development and value for money. Financial sanctions could be a starting point.

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