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Development cash lies idle as governors focus on salaries

By Lydiah Nyawira and Patrick Kibet | Published Fri, May 18th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 17th 2018 at 23:23 GMT +3
Comptroller of budget Agnes Odhiambo. She has indicted counties of continuing to spend very little on development and excess on salaries and wages. [File, Standard]

County governments are running out of time to spend billions of shillings set aside for development projects by June 30, the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

The Controller of Budget’s implementation report indicates that counties only spent eight per cent of development cash between July and December 2017.

In the six months, the counties only spent Sh11.36 billion of the Sh141.63 billion set aside for development activities.

This was a decrease from the Sh35.73 billion development expenditure in a similar period in 2016.

Kilifi recorded the highest expenditure on development at Sh1.65 billion, followed by Kiambu (Sh856.28 million) and Kakamega (Sh844.69 million).

Fourteen counties, namely Embu, Garissa, Kirinyaga, Kisumu, Meru, Nakuru, Nandi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, Vihiga and West Pokot did not report any expenditure on development projects between July and December 2017.

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo also flagged high expenditure on wages and salaries in counties that violated Public Finance Management Act regulations.

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The regulations limit counties to spend not more than 35 per cent of total revenue on wages and salaries.

Salary spending

But counties spent Sh66 billion on wages and salaries between July and December 2017, which accounted for 63.7 per cent of the total expenditure.

The expenditure marked a 6.9 per cent increase from the Sh62 billion reported in the same period in 2016.

In Marsabit, the wage bill rose by 78.9 per cent from Sh564 million spent between July and December 2016 to Sh.1 billion in the same period in 2017. The county spent 60.6 per cent of total expenditure on salaries and wages.

Bomet’s expenditure on salaries and wages rose from Sh1.2 billion to Sh1.5 billion, while in Baringo it rose from Sh1.16 billion to Sh1.32 billion.

Murang’a did not deposit unspent funds at the end of the financial year at the Central Bank of Kenya, as required by the law, but went ahead to spend Sh176.09 million after the Government spending cut-off date of June 30, 2017.

Other counties that reported an increase in their wage bills were Nyamira, Makueni, Kirinyaga, Kajiado, Taita Taveta, Nairobi, Nandi and Lamu.

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