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The assembly was already running behind schedule as the CFSP should have been tabled by February 28.

The coronavirus disease has disrupted the budget-making process in counties, with fears that efforts to contain the pandemic could plunge devolved units already facing a cash crunch into a deeper crisis.

In Nairobi, for instance, the county assembly was unable to convene a public participation forum on March 23 for the County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP), which would inform next year’s county budget estimates.

Only after the CFSP is tabled and approved by the House can the county executive draw up next year’s budget estimates.

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Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Mbatia said the partial lockdown imposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta had prevented the committee from carrying out public participation on the policy document.

The assembly was already running behind schedule as the CFSP should have been tabled by February 28.

And the county executive is required to table the 2020-21 financial year budget estimates in the Assembly by April 30.

“The unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic might lead to a total lockdown in the country. A situation where the budget estimates are not submitted by April 30 will mean a delay in approval of the next financial year’s budget,” said Mr Mbatia.

The House suspended sittings on March 16 for 30 days to stop the spread of Covid-19, but the uncertainty around the disease does not guarantee a reopening on April 14.

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Delays in passing budget estimates will in turn delay the passage of Finance and Appropriations Bills, which should be done by June 30.

Mbatia said he would ask for more time from the county assembly to finalise on the CFSP report during a special sitting to be held on Thursday this week.

County Fiscal Strategy Paper coronavirus Covid-19

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