County budget questioned
The Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo has written to Nyamira County Government over a number of deviations in the Financial Year 2018-2019 budget.
Ms Odhiambo wants the county to be specific with projects it intends to develop by specifically describing the projects, their location, or reclassifying them in recurrent expenditure.
She also wants the county to be practical with what it plans to collect in revenues.
“The own-source target should be realistic and based on historical trend to avoid a deficit,” said Ms Odhiambo in the letter dated last December 10.
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Nyamira had indicated that it targeted to collect Sh255.57 million in the 2018/2019 estimates. It collected Sh104.25 million in the 2014/15 financial year, Sh106.98 million in financial year 2015/2016, Sh93.92 million in financial year 2016/2017 and Sh96.62 million in financial year 2017/2018.
In the development allocation the County set Sh1.95 billion, 30 per cent of the total budget, which conforms to section 107(2)(b) of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, 2012.
However, the Controller of Budget said this expenditure included some items that were recurrent in nature and included bursaries (Sh131 million), trade, tourism, industrialisation and cooperative development’s Sh1.3 million as well as the Sports department’s Sh15 million.
She was further worried that allocation to salaries and allowances amounted to Sh3.22 billion.
This, according to Ms Odhiambo, translated to 49.4 per cent of the total revenue, which was above the ceiling in law.
“Regulation 25(1) (b) of the Public Finance Management, 2015 sets a ceiling on County Government expenditure on wages and benefits at 35 percent of the County’s total revenue,” she reminded.
In the letter, Ms Odiambo noted that Sh282.65 million had been captured in the budget as “Budget Reserves” yet the approved budget did not identify the specific activities to be funded.
“We advise the county to ensure the budget complies with the ceilings in the approved County Fiscal Strategic Paper (CFSP),” she said.
“Deviations should be appropriately explained in line with Section 130(1) (ii) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.”
She named ministries that had deviations, which failed to meet the CFSP. She said in the Health ministry there was a deviation of 22.5 and 52.4 per cent in the department’s recurrent and development expenditure respectively.
The same was the case with the Education and ICT ministries, which had a deviation of 150.9 and 78.3 per cent in its recurrent and development expenditures respectively.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development had deviation of 85.1 per cent in its recurrent expenditure and 87.2 per cent deviation in development expenditure.