Relief for Rasanga, Nyangarama as MCAs pass budget

Nyamira Governor John Nyangarama. [Phillip Orwa/Standard]
Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga and his Nyamira counterpart John Nyagarama got reprieve after their county assemblies passed supplementary budgets rejected last month.

The MCAs passed the budgets on Tuesday evening, giving a lifeline to the executives to fulfill their development agenda.

Mr Rasanga was forced to reinstate as Sh900 million Ward Development Fund, which he had earlier rejected, for Siaya MCAs to pass the budget.

This means each of the 30 elected MCAs will have access to Sh30 million for their respective ward developments.

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When they rejected the initial budget last month, the MCAs had also faulted Rasanga for introducing new projects as part of roll-overs that were not in the 2017/2018 budget.

“It does not meet the Public Finance Management Act,” they said.

Another thorny issue in the rejected budget was introduction of national government roads worth over Sh600 million lined up as legacy projects by Rasanga.

On Tuesday, the allocation on the roads were removed after the MCAs protested, saying they belonged to the national government.

In Nyamira, the county government is staring at a budget crisis even as MCAs passed a supplementary appropriations Bill that had stagnated for more than two months.

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Apparently, the county has not absorbed any money for development since July when the expenditure estimates were passed amid tension between the assembly and executive over contentious items in the Bill.

The stand-off was cited as part of the reasons county staff missed salaries for close to three months, until August when Mr Nyagarama made a partial assent to the budget.

The county’s Finance executive, however, said the budget was re-drawn in an “irregular manner”.

The ward representatives had expunged some votes committed by the Executive and inserted those they thought were appropriate.

Only the recurrent budget was being implemented as the development kitty waited for amendment through the supplementary budget that was passed in a special sitting on Tuesday.

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The current budget is estimated at Sh5.9 billion while the supplementary one is approximately Sh6.8 billion.

The controversies with the county budget deepened this week after the office of the Controller of Budget wrote to Nyamira over the initial budget that it said was questionable.

Some of the queries included inappropriate vote placement, unrealistic projections on local revenue collection, an abnormal wage bill, exceeded spending ceilings for departments and lack of detailed schedules of pending bills.

Budget Committee Chairman Richard Onyinkwa said just as the national Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, the assembly was concerned over the executive’s appropriations.

“The executive wants Sh264 million from the exchequer to cater for gratuities and unremitted statutory deductions, which are outstanding since 2013. They must first explain where the monies they deducted went before we allocate the monies for requisition,” he said.

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Mr Onyinkwa, however, said even though the budget was passed, there was still room for another supplementary budget to take into consideration the issues raised by the national Controller of Budget.

“The Controller of Budget’s concerns are very serious and we have to factor them in the next supplementary budget, which we can do as soon as possible,” Onyinkwa said.

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John Nyagaramasupplementary budgetsSiaya Governor Cornell Rasanga