Nyeri budget: Finance executive pulls a Rotich, scraps mutura, crusade levies
67pc allocated for salaries and operations and the rest for developmentCounty blames rising wage bill on the various CBAs
Nyeri County Finance Executive Robert Thuo mimics how finance ministers present budget estimates. With a briefcase and a lapel, Dr Thuo posed for a photo outside the county headquarters. PHOTO | GRACE GITAU | NMG
Briefcase in hand and a red lapel rose, Nyeri County Executive for Finance and Economic Planning Robert Thuo made his way to the Nyeri County Assembly to read the 2018-2019 budget statement. It was an elaborate procedure, mimicking how Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich recently presented the national budget estimates in Parliament.It was the almost ritualistic process through which Kenya’s finance ministers have always presented the budget.And just as Mr Rotich posed for a photo at the National Assembly carrying the budget briefcase, so did Mr Thuo, at the stairs of the county headquarters.
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Then accompanied by governor Mutahi Kahiga, the deputy governor Caroline Karugu and county executives, Mr Thuo made his address to the House on Thursday’s afternoon sitting.The Sh7.6 billion spending plan has allocated Sh5.1 billion for recurrent budget and the remaining Sh2.5 billion for the implementation of development projects.This means more than 67 per cent of the budget is being spent on salaries and operation costs as development receives 33 per cent.“The county is determined to address this mismatch to ensure more resources are allocated to development projects. “To overcome this challenge, the county hopes to expand its local revenue base,” said Mr Thuo.The county executive said the 2018-2019 budget focuses on the completion of ongoing projects, supporting agricultural production and supporting emerging growth sectors.Mr Thuo said new but unpopular levies proposed in the finance Bill had been scrapped.This includes the cost of conducting church crusades and serving mutura, soup and other delicacies outside butcheries.The move came after residents protested the introduction of new levies and an increase of the existing charges.The minister also announced that he had eliminated other levies including nursery school fees to increase enrollment and the fish processing levies at the Wamagana plant to promote fish production.The minister blamed the rising wage bill on the various collective bargaining agreements in the health sector after a string of strikes by nurses and doctors.The county also plans to roll out a new revenue management system to seal revenue leakages.The county has allocated Sh609 million for maintenance of tarmacked roads and improvement of access roads. It will also spend Sh60 million in purchase of equipment that will be utilised in roads maintenance to bring down costs.The health department receives the lion’s share of the budget of Sh2.5 billion, of which nearly Sh2 billion will be spent on salaries and allowances leaving only Sh500 million for operations costs and development.The health spending is followed by the Transport and Infrastructure docket, which has been alloccated Sh966 million. The budget statement identified impassable roads, shortage of water, high levels of unemployment, medical care and marketing of farm produce as the major issues facing residents.“I have attempted to demonstrate our resolve to address the challenges and the concerns of the county residents while remaining focused on the county economy,” Mr Thuo said.