Senators' committee backs MCA autonomy

Senators have promised to amend the Public Finance Management Act (PFM) to give county assemblies financial autonomy.

The Senate Finance and Budget Committee chairman, Mohamed Mahamoud (Mandera), said  ward representatives were not playing their oversight role effectively because of their dependency on the executive.

“The committee has been planning to amend the PFM Act to review a section of the law to give the assemblies financial autonomy. This will reduce the dependency of ward reps on the executive,” said Mahamoud.

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He spoke after ward representatives complained that their operations and oversight role had been compromised by county executives who sometimes arm-twist them into submission.

Yesterday, Kitui and Makueni ward reps told the Senate committee that their primary work of oversight and legislation had been affected by what they described as "dependency syndrome".

“Lack of financial autonomy has really affected our work. Everything has to be signed by the Finance executive,” said Kitui County Assembly's finance and budget committee vice chair Mutunga Munuve

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The ward representatives complained that county executives have been turning down their request for funds to oversight the county government.

“You cannot be given money by the same person that you want to oversight,” Munuve said.

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The county legislators have been pushing for amendments to the law to compel the National Treasury to send funds directly to county assemblies.

Currently, all county assemblies must get approval from the executive before placing requisition for funds to the Controller of Budget.

The ward reps said the current arrangement gives governors and Finance executives control over funds disbursed to counties, and by-extension, control over county assembly budgets.

They implored Senate to pass a legislation to allow them access funds to implement development in their wards.

The Senate committee agreed with the ward reps.

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“This is a problem that cuts across all county assemblies. We are supposed to have challenged the law a long time ago,” said Senator Mahamoud.

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