Report shows Counties Spend Sh.49 B on development

Controller of Budget Dr Margaret Nyakang'o when she appeared before the National Assembly Finance Committee on the Budget Policy Statement at Continental House, Nairobi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Counties are struggling to absorb money allocated for development, according to the Controller of Budget.

The County Governments Budget Implementation Review Report reveals devolved units spent Sh49.8 billion on development in first nine months of 2019-2020 financial year, which is only 20.6 per cent of the money spent.

Murang'a County reported the highest absorption rate of 60 per cent of its development budget as it spent Sh2 billion while Tana River reported 45.6 per cent and Marsabit at 43.5 per cent.

Nairobi, Samburu and Nyandarua counties performed poorly, reporting 11.1 per cent, 6 per cent, and 4.1 per cent respectively.

In Nyandarua, out of the Sh2.9 billion spent during the nine-month period, only Sh125 million went to development.

Samburu County spent Sh147 million on development, out of Sh2.6 billion total budget in the nine months under review. The county was flagged for high wage bill which accounted for 63.3 per cent of the total expenditure.

Nairobi County during the period reported 11 per cent absorption rate after spending Sh1.25 billion on development, out of Sh11 billion total development budget.

Development programmes

The county spent Sh14 billion on recurrent activities representing an absorption rate of 55.4 per cent.

The report also notes that failure by the National Treasury to disburse funds on time affected the execution of the development programmes in counties.

During the period, county governments generated Sh28 billion from local revenues sources, which was 48.5 per cent of the annual target of Sh57.8 billion.

However, this was a slight decrease compared to Sh28.9 billion generated in a similar period of 2018/2019 financial year

Tana River, Samburu, and Uasin Gishu achieved the highest proportions at 96.1 per cent, 76.8 per cent, and 73.4 per cent during the nine-month period.

Trans Nzoia, Kajiado and Nandi counties recorded the lowest proportion of own-source revenue against annual targets.

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango said Kitui, Laikipia, Machakos, Meru, Migori, Mombasa, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega and Kericho counties incurred expenditure in excess of approved budgetary allocations as a result of weak budgetary controls. 

“County governments should ensure that expenditure on personnel emoluments is contained at sustainable levels,” report notes.