County governments rush to table fiscal strategy paper

 BY LEONARD KORIR,

Nairobi, Kenya: As county governments rush to meet the deadline of formulating how they plan to raise and spend money for the coming financial year, inadequacy of financial experts has been cited as the major challenge stifling the entire budget making process.

 This comes when county governments are expected to present their County Fiscal Strategy Paper at their respective county assemblies not later than today.

 County Fiscal Strategy Paper is an overview of how a county plans to raise and spends money for the next year while considering a 2-3 year perspective.

The International Budget Partnership (IBP), a US-based organisation raised concern with the inability of various county governments to beat the set timelines of the budget making  process hence delaying the implementation of  several proposed projects.

According to IBP’s Senior Program officer, Dr. Jason Lakin, a similar situation which occurred in the previous financial year where some of the counties delayed to get funding due to budget technicalities was likely to be experienced again.

Late last year, 22 counties delayed in receiving their revenue funds after presenting unrealistic and unprofessionally designed budgets to the Controller of Budgets who turned them down demanding for their revision.

 Speaking during a two-day journalist training workshop on County Budgets reporting organised by the Media Focus on Africa and supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) , he said besides such delays being a breach of the stipulated regulations, they were adversely affecting service delivery to the citizens.

 Therefore, Lakin suggested that there was an urgent need by both the national and county governments alongside other key players to train more experts in the budgeting field to ensure such inconveniencies were avoided.

 He added that it was regrettable that most of the counties have so far not produced implementation reports.

 “To be specific, the Transition Authority (TA) should scale up the training of adequate government officers on matters touching on budget making and financial management who will assist the various counties to ensure conformity to the set timelines in the budget making exercise.

 He said IBP has rolled out programs aimed at offering technical training assistance and developing guidelines to various county governments on matters pertaining budget making process and financial analysis.

“Our role is to enhance knowledge among civil society budget groups and other public finance stakeholders by acting as a hub of information on civil society budget work by building vibrant international and regional budget networks,” said Lakin.

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International Budget Partnership county governments Jason Lakin