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Counties that spend most on salaries reject Controller of Budget report

By KENAN MIRUKA, RUSHDIE OUDIA AND SILAH KOSKEI

NAIROBI, KENYA: The report by the Controller of Budget on county governments’ expenditure has elicited mixed reactions from counties that were adversely mentioned in the report.

West Pokot Deputy Governor Titus Lotee faulted the report, which indicated that they spent over Sh37.7 million on salaries against the total budget.

Lotee termed the figures “erroneous and exaggerated” by the Controller of Budget, saying a review should be conducted to correct the issue.

“The figure indicated by the Controller of Budget has been inflated and does not reflect the true expenditures at the county level,” he said.

Governor James Ongwae explained that his huge wage bill was occasioned by the high number of staff inherited from the defunct local authorities in Kisii.

In the report, the Kisii County Government is said to have spent 83 per cent or Sh174.4 million of the total budgetary allocation on staff salaries, Sh34 million on operations and maintenance and Sh15 million on travel in the period under review.

“We have not employed any new staff except for members of the county executive during the period under review. In some areas, the local authorities had over established staff but we are in the process of rationalising to manageable levels,” said Ongwae.

MASSIVE RECRUITMENT

Kisii County Interim Secretary Johnstone Ndege said most former local authorities like the Town Council of Ogembo conducted massive recruitment of staff without regard to their ability to pay salaries.

Political leaders from Kisumu County yesterday condemned the extravagant budget expenditure on personnel emoluments.

In the report released by the Controller of Budget, Kisumu was ranked among counties that had the highest proportion of their expenditures on personnel emoluments to the total expenditure at 79.3 per cent.

Kisumu came third after Kisii, which spent 83.7 per cent and West Pokot at 81.4.

Nyando MP Fred Outa said Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma had completely veered off development if what is said in the report is anything to go by.

Outa alleged that most those working in the county government do not have credentials yet they enjoy huge salaries.

“The governor has his priorities misplaced and has failed in delivering on projects,” said Outa.

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