Why Controller of Budget slashed Sakaja's supplementary budget

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o when she appeared before the Senate Devolution and InterGovernmental Committee at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja will now be forced to go back to the drawing board after the Controller of Budget (CoB) slashed his Supplementary Budget for the financial year 2023/2024.

According to a report by CoB Margaret Nyakang’o the county did not meet the required threshold of the Public Finance Management Act.

Dr Nyakang’o said the law provides specific guidelines on how budget discrepancies should be conducted.

Part of the Act for instance states that the supplementary budget is required when there is a need to reallocate funds to different areas than those originally planned.

The county had for instance amended the recurrent budget expenditure for the County Public Service Board from the current Sh127 million to Sh130 million but it has now been slashed by ShSh10 million.

The development budget in the Agriculture sector has similarly been reduced from Sh96.3 million to Sh27.7 million.

The development budget that had been allocated to the County Assembly has equally been slashed by Sh915 million out of the current total budget allocation of Sh2.4.

Meanwhile, Nairobi Revenue Authority which was set up to help in revenue collection in the city seems is the biggest loser after the CoB scrapped the development fund of Sh100 million.

The development budget in the Inclusivity Public Participation and Citizen Engagement sector was equally affected.

The original development budget was Sh560 million, but the CoB has slashed it by Sh476 million.

The Innovation and Digital Economy sector has also been affected after CoB reduced the development expenditure from Sh9.7 million while Ward Development Fund has equally been reduced by Sh655 million.

The development budget in the Boroughs and Public Administration sector has been slashed from Sh1.19 billion to Sh748 million.

Another sector which suffered a huge blow is the health sector after the development budget was reduced from Sh1.13 billion to Sh519 million while the transport sector budget was slashed from Sh3.3 billion to Sh1.7 billion.

The Controller of Budget in the report noted that some of the estimates were made without necessary approvals from the County Treasury.

And in some cases, the county assembly was not properly informed or did not approve the changes.

Following the slashing of the supplementary budget, Waithera Chege who is Committee Member of Assembly County Finance, Budget and Appropriations noted that this might affect development in Nairobi.

“The Public Finance Act speaks about giving 30 per cent of the budget to the development projects but he (governor) has gone down to 20 per cent,” Waithera who is also deputy Minority Leader noted.

“That means all the projects that were to be done in Nairobi will not be done unless the budget is revised,” she added.

The Nairobi South MCA said that the assembly cannot initiate the process of revising the budget and this can only be done by the Executive.

She blamed the Executive for lacking understanding when it comes to interpretation of the law.

Waithera pointed out that the initial development budget was 12.7 billion but the Executive presented 8.47 billion citing incompetence by some officers.

“The way forward is that CoB must not approve the supplementary budget because if they do that they will be going against the law,” she said.

She regretted that the MCAs have been outsmarted by the Executive, claiming that some have been pocketed to the extend that only a few can stand up and speak out against some ills.