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SENATE GEARING TO OVERSEE COUNTY OPERATIONS

Senators have been vocal in warning governors over misuse of funds allocated for county developments, most especially last year when counties started making their budgets public and it turned out that most of them had huge allocations for extravagant projects.

SH53 MILLION FOR ‘ENTERTAINMENT’…

For instance, Kisumu governor Ranguma and his team set Sh72 million in the budget allocations for the purchase of Prado

Kisumu Governor Ranguma - Sh72 million for cars

Kisumu Governor Ranguma – Sh72 million for cars

cars for the 10 executive committee members while Bungoma County allocated Sh53 million for entertainment, Sh30 million for travel expenses,  Sh1 million for the speaker’s regalia and Sh20 million for pornography eradication.

The senators, who are now in the process of amending the existing law to ensure that governors spend money allocated to their respective counties appropriately, want a bigger percentage (60%) of the money apportioned to counties to be used for development projects.

MURKOMEN – CLOSE BUDGET GAPS

Last year, the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Devolved Governments, Kipchumba Murkomen, stated that the current law including the Public Finance Management Act (PFM) has gaps that must be urgently amended in order to tighten the process of budgeting and expenditure controls in counties.

The senators are also concerned about the huge recruitment of staff by county governments as this only raises the wage bill leaving a small percentage of the money allocated to the counties for development. Unnecessary travel and conferences have also been considered a misuse of funds.

According to Murkomen, counties have been on a hiring spree but what the counties need is more money to be spent on

Senator Murkomen - arguing for tighter expenditure controls

Senator Murkomen – arguing for tighter expenditure controls

development projects and not on layers and layers of employees.

Whereas the current law provides for a minimum of 30 percent of the total allocation to be set for the development budget, the senate intends to have the development budget increased to 60 percent.

DEVELOPMENT BOARDS

If approved by the National Assembly, the bills passed by the senate will give them more teeth to get their hands on the operations of the counties and keep the governors in check as most of the proposals will favour development. The senate will now be involved in examining the expenditures of counties and making amendments where necessary.

For instance, among the proposals made on the County Governments Act is to have development boards set up for counties in order to guide governors on priorities within their counties as judging by the last budgets, most governors had their priorities misplaced.

The senate will also require that in the next budget for counties, for governors to account how they spend the money allocated to them in the current financial year.

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Raila Odinga Speech at the CSIS Washington DC, USA

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