Samboja and Taita Taveta MCAs row over delayed Finance Bill

Granton Samboja (Governor, Taita Taveta)addressing his supporters at Mwatate.Taita Taveta County to spend Sh1.56 billion as MCAs delay to pass Finance Bill   [Photo:Courtesy]
Service delivery is likely to be compromised after the county assembly failed to pass the Finance Bill, which empowers governments to collect taxes.

This means the county government will not have enough resources to finance development projects since it is only assured of the money counties are allocated by the national government. 

The Bill should have been passed by September 30 but MCAs failed to beat the deadline provided in the Public Finance Management Act as a blame game between them and the county executive took centre stage.

Documents seen by The Standard show the crucial Bill was received by the clerk of the county assembly on September 18. It was read for the first time on September 20.

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The Budget and Appropriations committee met on September 26, when the MCAs resolved not to approve the Bill pending certain amendments they wanted included.

They later sent a memorandum to Finance and Planning Executive Vincent Masawi with all the amendments they wanted made.

Passing Bill

Yesterday, the committee tabled the Bill and Speaker Meshack Maganga blamed the executive for the delays in passing the Bill.

“The Finance Bill should have been approved by the House long ago. However, the executive failed to submit it to the House in good time,” Mr Maganga said.

But the executive exonerated itself from blame, saying it submitted the Bill to the county assembly as required by law but the House had failed to approve it on time.

"The executive held meetings in August during which the public was given a chance to make contributions before the Bill was sent to the county assembly but MCAs failed to do their job," said Dr Masawi.

"The MCAs said they would not plan public participation meetings until they had gone through the Bill, which we submitted on time. They failed to do their job."

Masawi however assured the public that the delay would not affect county operations.

"We are far better than other counties, which are yet to take the Finance Bill to their county assemblies for approval," he said.

Enough revenue

Ahmed Omar, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, said the county government would not manage to raise enough revenue if the Bill was passed as it was.

The Kaloleni MCA said members had proposed heavy taxes on Tanzanian traders and sand dealers, which were omitted by the executive.

Nominated MCA Frank Mmare accused the county government of ignoring the views of a local religious lobby among other groups.

In the 2018-2019 budget, the county government is planning to spend Sh3.69 billion on recurrent expenditure and Sh1.56 billion on development.

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Public Finance Management ActBudgetMCAsFinance Billgovernor granton samboja