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Stop wastage of public funds, National Treasury CS Rotich warn counties

By James Anyanzwa | October 1st 2014

The State has cautioned public officers against misuse and wastage of public resources even as it emerged that the Executive has failed to walk the talk on controlling the ballooning public wage bill.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said public funds must be allocated based on strategic priorities, while available resources must also be used efficiently for intended purposes.

Mr Rotich particularly took issue with the county governments, saying the devolved units must prepare quality budgets and develop capacity for effective internal controls on how the devolved funds are utilised.

"In executing the budge function, we must adhere to fiscal discipline and ensure that resource allocation is based on strategic priorities, while at the same time ensuring available resources are used efficiently for the intended purposes," he said. Rotich was speaking during the official launch of the County Budget Operational and County/National Governments internal audit training manuals in Nairobi yesterday.

Rotich's remarks come amid reports by the Controller of Budget that counties are diverting money meant for development activities towards recurrent spending.

A damning report by the Office of the Controller of Budget (OCOB) shows that counties are slashing development budgets and using the money to pay salaries, purchase motor vehicles, fund domestic and foreign travels and pay Member of County Assemblies (MCAs)' sitting allowances.

According to the County Governments annual Budget implementation review report for the 2013/2014 fiscal year, the absorption of funds by the county governments increased during the period but the increased usage of funds was mainly on recurrent activities, thereby stifling implementation of development projects.

Rotich reckoned transparency and accountability and a higher level of monitoring and reporting of local fiscal performance is essential at the grassroots level.

It is estimated that the Government loses about 30 per cent of its annual budget through wastage and on corrupt practices.
He said the training manuals would be critical in addressing existing gaps in budgeting and auditing functions at the county government level.

He reiterated the National Treasury's commitment to the success of the devolved system of government.

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