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Why Sonko rejected Sh37.1 billion County budget

By Josphat Thiong'o | October 17th 2020

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Thursday rejected a Sh37.1 billion budget and sent a memorandum to the county assembly with seven reasons why he could not assent to the Bill.

In the budget approved last week, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) had been allocated Sh27.1 billion to run the transferred functions — health, transport, public works and planning — while Sonko was left with only Sh10.4 billion out of which Sh2 billion had been allocated to the county assembly.

This means he had been left to control only Sh8.4 billion to run the remaining county functions for the 2020/21 financial year.

“In exercise of the powers conferred to me by County Governments Act, 2012, I refuse to assent to the Nairobi County Appropriations Bill, 2020, for the reasons stated thereunder,” he said.

Key among them was that the budget presented to him had a deficit as it had a projected revenue collection of Sh31.6 billion while the total expenditure was Sh37.4 billion leaving a shortfall of Sh5.8 billion which was against the Public Finance Management Act.

Sonko noted that it was also against the principles of public finance management for the assembly to not give explanations or justifications for the mutilation they subjected the budget to or how the deficit of Sh5.8 billion would be financed.

The city boss also accused the MCAs of making illegal amendments to the budget by exceeding the one per cent threshold in making adjustments to various votes and overall increasing the budget by 19.3 per cent from an initial budget of Sh31.6 billion.

“The Bill passed by the assembly violated the PFM Act in so far as the county assembly lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the budget presented by NMS as such powers are vested in the county executive member for finance,” Sonko stated.

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He also decried the transfer of all funds under the five votes — health, urban planning and lands, transport and public works, environment, water, urban renewal and housing from the county government to the NMS.

“NMS is not a delivery unit within the county government and, therefore, does not qualify to find its way as a vote for appropriation of funds,” he said. He also took issue with the transfers of the Sh1 billion Ward Development Fund from his control and a further Sh1.6 billion for paying salaries of inspectorate officers.

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