Nyeri spent only Sh650,000 on development in the six months to December, a lower amount compared to the monthly salary of the governor.
Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo says Nyeri County had the lowest absorption rate of money allocated towards development among the 47 counties. Governors earn more than Sh850,000 monthly.
Nairobi and Nyandarua also did poorly on project spending, which is critical to building infrastructure like roads and sewerage and putting money in private hands through demand for raw materials which ultimately creates new jobs.
Nyeri used 0.04 per cent of the Sh1.82 billion budgeted for development spending, while Nairobi and Nyandarua spent 6.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively of the projects budget.
The government and counties remain the biggest buyers of goods and services and reduced spending has an effect on economic growth.
Cement makers, steel manufacturers, contractors and the thousands of workers who are employed in infrastructure projects all benefit from public spending and are likely to feel the pinch of the slowdown.
This is the second time Nyeri has been ranked last in spending money set aside for development projects where the county government has often shifted blame on the county assembly.
“The county should fast track implementation of development programmes in the remaining period of the financial year,” urged Ms Odhiambo. Last year, Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) passed budget estimates for the current financial year but the governor, the late Nderitu Gachagua, rejected the estimates citing gross violation of the Constitution following amendments made by the assembly.
The county government, MCAs and the Controller of Budget were in talks for over four months in a bid to resolve the budget crisis which left county operations nearly crippled.
The budget was ultimately passed in November though the controller of budget had approved the release of half of the budget of the previous financial year in a bid to ensure that operations did not grind to a halt.
The county is also on the spot for allocating the least amount on development, Sh1.82 billion or 28.2 per cent of its budget. This does not meet the minimum threshold stipulated under Public Finance Management Act.
“The County Treasury should ensure that budget allocation to development expenditure is at least 30 per cent of the county budget,” indicated the Office of the Controller of Budget.