Kilifi, Mombasa and Murang’a recorded the highest aggregate spending on development in the first nine months of the 2017/18 fiscal year despite a sharp dip in the amount spent on growth programmes by all the 47 counties, new data shows.
Statistics by the Controller of Budget Office(CoB) indicate that Kilifi recorded the highest expenditure on development activities in absolute terms at Sh2.34 billion, followed by Mombasa, Murang’a, Mandera, and Kakamega at Sh1.61 billion, Sh1.57 billion, Sh1.57 billion and Sh1.41 billion, respectively.
This means Kilifi, Murang’a and Mombasa had the highest absorption rate of development expenditure of 53.8 per cent, 52.1 per cent and 40.6 per cent, respectively.
Meru topped the list of lowest absorbers of development expenditure at 0.2 per cent followed by West Pokot (1.3 per cent), Vihiga (3.7 per cent), Nyandarua (3.8 per cent) and Nakuru at 5.3 per cent.
Development expenditure refers to costs incurred to create assets that will provide long-term public goods, including roads, hospitals, schools and airports.
Overall, development expenditure by the 47 counties for the period July 2017 to March 2018 amounted to Sh25.98 billion, representing an absorption rate of 17.7 per cent and a decrease from 37.9 per cent attained in the first nine months of 2016/17 when total development expenditure was Sh62.74 billion.
The CoB data shows counties continued to spend more on recurrent items such as personnel emoluments.
They incurred an aggregate of Sh157.67 billion or 85.9 per cent of the total expenditure on recurrent items. This expenditure represents 59.1 per cent of the annual County Governments budget for recurrent activities and a decline from 61.8 per cent recorded in a similar period of 2016/17 when expenditure stood at Sh145.07 billion.
“Analysis of expenditure in absolute terms shows that Nairobi County attained the highest expenditure on recurrent activities at Sh15.58 billion, followed by Kiambu and Nakuru at Sh5.7 billion and Sh5.13 billion respectively” the CoB points out.
The lowest recurrent expenditure was recorded by Lamu, Isiolo and Tharaka Nithi counties at Sh1.22 billion, Sh1.31 billion and Sh1.81 billion, respectively.
Statistics further show that during the first nine months of 2017/18, county governments incurred Sh108.04 billion on personnel emoluments, representing 68.5 per cent of the total recurrent expenditure and 58.8 per cent of total expenditure. This was an increase from Sh90.95 billion in the first nine months of 2016/17 when personnel expenditure translated to 43.3 per cent of the total expenditure.
Nairobi County reported the highest expenditure on personnel emoluments at Sh10.01 billion, followed by Kakamega and Kiambu at Sh4.03 billion and Sh3.88 billion respectively.
Analysis of personnel emoluments as a percentage of total expenditure by county indicates that Kirinyaga, Meru and Elgeyo Marakwet recorded the highest percentage at 78.9 per cent, 75.3 per cent and 74.7 per cent respectively.
The recommended ceiling for personnel emoluments is 35 per cent, but only a dozen counties were in the clear with most way above this threshold.
Kirinyaga spent Sh1.94 billion on remuneration. The county together with Garissa and Kisumu, did not report any development expenditure.
Meru’s 75.3 per cent of its total expenditure on salaries was a 28.4 per cent increase compared to the first nine months of 2016/17 financial year. It spent only 0.2 per cent of its expenditure on development.
Elgeyo Marakwet Sh1.74 billion of its total expenditure on salaries.
County assemblies incurred Sh670.12 million on Members of County Assembly (MCAs) sitting allowance against the approved budget allocation of Sh2.79 billion.
Turkana and Samburu reported higher expenditure on monthly MCA’s Sitting allowance than the recommended monthly ceiling of Sh80,000.
MCAs in the two counties took home a huge package of monthly sitting allowance of about Sh83,255 and Sh82,921 respectively.
Narok, Machakos and Mandera paid their MCA’s the lowest monthly sitting allowances of Sh11,574, Sh12,023 and Sh12,317 respectively.