NAIROBI: All the 47 counties have now negotiated the budgetary ceilings set up by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) that will be used in the 2015-2016 financial year.
Counties will now be entitled to Sh45 billion that would cover salaries and allowances for governors, deputy governors, speakers, Members of the County Assembly among other county staff.
County assemblies will get Sh24,993,395,927 while the county executives share out Sh20,633,181,151. Releasing the figures after final deliberations last week with Tana River County, CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem said the ceilings are meant to curb expenditure within counties and to ensure development funds are not interfered with.
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The budgets now await formal approval by the Senate in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act 2012 as amended by the County Allocation of Revenue Act 2014.
“The budgetary ceilings should not be viewed as punishment or interference with the management of funds in the counties. Rather ceilings are meant to guide the management of funds and expenditure to ensure funds are utilised for purposes they were meant for,” Mr Cheserem said.
“What is now remaining is for the Senate to deliberate on the proposals with a view of passing them,” he added.
A circular dated May 11, 2015 and addressed to County Executives in charge of finance, all the 47 county governments and county assemblies and signed by CRA Secretary George Ooko, says the budget ceilings are to be observed while preparing the 2015-16 budgets. “This is while we await formal approval by the Senate,” Mr Ooko said.
Cheserem explained that while some counties have negotiated their budgetary ceilings, others availed what they had budgeted for but within the ceilings agreed by CRA.
“I want to thank a number of governors for coming up with budgets that are realistic and manageable. A good budget is one that does not over shoot the available funds and revenue and I am happy that some governors have taken measures to adhere to good management practices. If we don’t have ceilings, then we will lose devolution,” he said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Billow Kerrow said they have already received the CRA proposals and will be tabling them for debate soon.
“The ceilings were also proposed by the Council of Governors and this time round we involved MCAs, speakers and clerks in our discussions with CRA. Anyone who is dissatisfied with the ceilings should come forward for further discussions with us,” Mr Kerrow said. Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said governors ad MCAs should not view the ceilings as punitive.