Kakamega's Barasa signs Sh17.6b budget appropriation bill to law

Kakamega County Governor Fernandes Barasa addresses media at the county headquarters after pending signature on the approved budget estimate of Sh17.6 Billion Shillings which was approved by the County Assembly. He was flanked by Speaker of Kakamega Assembly James Namatsi together with MCAs. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa has signed the Sh17.6 billion County Budget Appropriation Bill into law, becoming among the first counties to pass the 2023/2024 budget.

Last Wednesday, ward reps passed the budget with the health sector allocated Sh4.64 billion, translating to 26.6 per cent of the estimates, while Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Co-operatives ministry was allocated Sh1.408 billion.

From the 2023/2024 budget, Sh11.4 billion, representing 64.47 per cent, will go to recurrent expenditure while Sh6.3 billion (35.53 per cent) has been earmarked for development.

The county boss approved the estimates of his deputy Ayub Savula, Speaker James Namatsi, Finance CECM Livingstone Imbayi and County Attorney Vivian Mmbaka.

“Our total budget is Sh17.6 billion, which will largely be financed by Sh12 billion equitable share, our own Sh2.2 billion source revenue, Sh500m conditional grants, and others, and this will help my administration achieve what I pledged to the residents,” Barasa said.

He maintained that he was keen on collecting Sh2.2 billion as the county’s source of revenue in the 2023/2024 financial year budget, stating that he has implemented the automation of the revenue collection system.

He added that the county can hit and even surpass the set revenue targets of Sh2.2 billion and collect Sh5 billion.

“We have brought on board a new automation system. We are trying to ensure we seal all revenue leakages and loopholes, and we will focus more on proper tax administration,” he said.

Barasa revealed that the maiden budget has surpassed the required 30 per cent threshold for development which is at 36 per cent.

“In total, we have allocated around Sh11.7 billion to the recurrent budget. On development which should have a minimum of 30 per cent, we have given it Sh6.3 billion,” he said.

This comes barely a month after the county government kicked off the recruitment of county martial officers who will be attached to county tax collectors to enhance efficiency.

“We want to ensure our county martial officers assist our revenue collection agency in implementing the automation system and ensure every citizen pays their tax through the system and the collection agency officials do not collude with residents to evade tax,” said Barasa.

Savula lauded the County Assembly for being among the first to pass the 2023/2024 budget.

“The budget matches and aligns with the County Integrated Development Plan 2023, which was again among the first to be launched. And now it’s time to implement what we promised the people of Kakamega,” he said.