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Economy

Treasury, Nairobi ward reps clash on Sh26.4bn NMS cash

Abdalla Badi
Nairobi Metropolitan Service Director-General Abdalla Badi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi MCAs have locked horns with the Treasury over direct allocation of Sh26.4 billion to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS), saying the county assembly ought to approve the budget.

In February, Governor Mike Sonko surrendered the main functions — health, transport, public works, utilities and planning — to NMS under the deeds of transfer witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani hived off Sh15.95 billion from Nairobi’s equitable revenue share as well as Sh9.7 billion from the county’s own-source revenue for disbursement to the NMS for the financial year 2020/21.

Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Robert Mbatia faulted the direct allocation from the Treasury, saying the NMS should get its cash from the county assembly.

“The future looks bleak because the county’s own source revenue will hardly hit Sh8.5 billion. If NMS is to get Sh9.7 billion from the own-source revenue and all the equitable revenue share then even funding the remaining functions and the county assembly’s Sh2.2 billion will be very difficult,” he said.

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Committee vice chairman Patrick Karani termed the allocation as an “illegality that can be easily challenged before a court of law”.

The Utawala MCA said funds due to counties cannot be released without the County Appropriation Act explaining that all the funds due to counties should come from the CRF before being divided according to different allocations by the Division of Revenue Bill.

Once the money is in the CRF, he said, only the Central Bank of Kenya permits the withdrawal of money through the County Appropriation Act which is normally signed by the governor after the assembly passes it.

“The Controller of Budget cannot release or move money without all these processes and the County Appropriate Act.

“How will NMS and the county get money if at all it has not undergone all the above process?” posed Mr Karani.

Embakasi MCA Michael Ogada, a member of the committee, said the confusion should be addressed before the county assembly passes the Finance Bill 2020.

The assembly is working on the Bill, assuming that the money allocated to the NMS would be less the county’s revenue from the equitable share from the national government.

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