NAIROBI, KENYA: County governments inherited huge wage bills from the previous local government that has pushed up recurrent expenditure above 70 percent of annual expenditure for most counties.
Council of Governor Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said only five counties have managed to maintain the 70:30 ratio for recurrent and development expenditures respectively of the Kshs 316 billion.
Speaking during the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) 36th Annual Seminar in Mombasa, Oparanya said over 35 counties have committed to maintaining the above ratio in the next financial year.
“The counties have had to absorb employees with very huge salary scales from the local governments. Fortunately, some have retired or moved on due to normal attrition since it is difficult to reduce the salaries of employees,” he said.
The summit taking place with the ravages of the Covid 19 Pandemic that informed organisers to use two venues – Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa and Sarova Whitesands and Spa. Other guests joined online.
He said that throughout the world, professional organizations such as ICPAK are re-evaluating and repackaging themselves to address new ways of accommodating this pandemic in a manner never envisaged before and at a pace that would have been viewed as unbelievable a few months ago.
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“Because people like predictability, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic is, therefore, a stark reminder that the world can still be an unpredictable place to live in and that all organizations can be compromised in terms of service delivery,” he said.
Oparanya challenged the accountants to continuously transform themselves to suit the demands of the society and industry.
“The industry expects strategic professionals who not only think beyond operational tasks but also get immersed in the strategic outlook of the organisations they serve,” he said.
He said in over 40 years, the Membership of the Institute has grown to more than 25,000 and the accountancy student in-take has continued to rise over time.
He recognized the increasing contribution the Institute has given to the two levels of government in terms of policy analysis and professional submissions to the planning organs on best practices in governance and economic development.
Speaking during the summit, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Devolution and ASALs, Eugene Wamalwa said one of the biggest challenges government has had is the resources going to counties and not going to development.
“The wage bill going to counties is quite a challenge and we have so much going to recurrent and very limited going to development,” said Wamalwa.
Also speaking at the same event, ICPAK Chairman FCPA Rose Mwaura said the annual seminar has always provided a platform for exchanging and pollinating ideas among peers, experts, and practitioners in accountancy, financial services, social entrepreneurs, and consumers of accounting services.
“Given its immense and priceless contribution towards the profession, the institute has to burn the midnight oil so as not to miss this year’s edition despite the negative impact of Covid-19 has had on social, economic, and political in Kenya and across the globe,” she said.
I expect that this year’s event will delve into intricacies emanating from Covid-19 including however best individuals and institutions should recalibrate their strategies to deal with calamities, ‘Acts of God’ and eventualities.
ICPAK Chief Executive Officer CPA Edwin Makori said that the Covid-19 pandemic has compelled us all to change, seemingly overnight, virtually every aspect of our lives and livelihoods.
This year, the institute will be holding both physical and virtual seminar to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to be part of this seminar and acquire knowledge we adapt to new ways of living, working, and learning.