MCAs to control in excess of Sh20 million each

Migori County Assembly in session on September 9, 2020. MCAs have been given Ward Development Fund in BBI proposals.[Collins Oduor, Standard]

Elected Members of County Assembly would each have in excess of Sh20 million under their control if the proposed changes in the Constitution become law.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has proposed that at least five per cent of the county government’s revenue — both allocated by the national government and collected by the county — be channelled to the proposed Ward Development Fund.

Council of Governor's chair Wycliffe Oparanya yesterday explained that the five per cent allocation will be based on a county government's budget.

“It would be based on the county budget. It is a good idea and that is what the MCAs have been pushing for. Some of the counties have created some sort of ward fund,” Oparanya said.

In Nairobi, which has the largest budget, the 83 elected MCAs would be the major beneficiaries as they would be in charge of the largest amount.

In the current financial year, the county government has a budget of Sh37.5 billion.

This implies that at least Sh1.88 billion would go to the fund, with each of the wards getting Sh22.6 million.

In Mandera, each of the 30 elected MCAs would be entitled to Sh19 million from its budget of Sh11 billion.

Populist provision

This figure is set to significantly go up with the proposal to enhance allocations to counties from the current 15 per cent to 35 per cent of the national revenue.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has proposed creation of Ward Development Fund designed in a similar manner to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

“The Ward Development Fund shall comprise at least five per cent of all the county government's revenue. And some of the money allocated or collected by the county government must also be utilised for development in the wards,” says the BBI report.

Introduction of the fund is likely to make the seat competitive in the next polls since holders will enjoy similar influence MPs wield in the running of NG-CDF projects.

Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru termed the provision as populist and meant to have MCAs back the proposed constitutional changes.

He said MCAs should stick to legislation and oversight duties without getting involved in the implementation of development projects. “When we give money to the MCAs, it means they will be involved in the mandate of the executive,” Njiru said.