Nakuru MCAs top the list of profligate spenders in the first quarter of the year that saw the 47 counties splash Sh475.4 million on sitting allowances.
Nakuru ward representatives earned allowances at an average rate of Sh125,148 per month — the highest of all counties in the reporting period — which was a breach of the limits set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) of Sh124, 800 per month per MCA.
Data from the Controller of Budgets (CoB) shows that the overall spend on allowances was a rise from Sh423.31 million in the first quarter of the 2018/19 period.
“Nakuru County Assembly reported higher expenditure on sitting allowance than the SRC recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124, 800,” CoB said in the report released Monday.
The continued rise in sitting allowances and other perks for MCAs has seen the 47 counties squeeze budgets for provision of basic services like water, hospitals and roads among others.
In the period under review, counties cut their spending on development projects by 44 percent to Sh1.94 billion from Sh3.51 billion spent in similar period in the 2018/19 year, underlining the dire effects of the growing appetite for sitting allowances by the MCAs.
Counties have, despite increasing their spending on MCAs’ sitting allowances, continued to default on payments to small businesses with the bill standing at over Sh20 billion as at end of December 2019.
The report added that Kilifi, Kisumu, Mandera, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, and Turkana did not report how much they spent on sitting allowances for their MCAs casting doubts on accountability by the devolved units.
SRC had reviewed downwards sitting allowances per MCA to Sh80,000 in July 2017. The decision was, however, nullified by the courts in 2018 paving way for a return to the huge payouts.