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How the Governors plan to spend your tax money

How the Governors plan to spend your tax money
September 17, 2020 Eastern Newspaper

By Simon Kobia

The question that should be bothering you is how your governor is using the hard-earned money that you contribute as taxes.

The governors in the Upper Eastern are investing billions of money they get from the national government in different ways, as they implement the 2020/2021 budget.

The Commission of Revenue Allocation has a formula that is currently being used in the sharing of the revenue to the counties on an equitable share basis. The formula to be used is the mandate of the senate and according to a recently released formula of resource allocation, the Health sector gets a huge share of 17% of the resources followed closely by Agriculture that is entitled to get 10%.

The formula allows public administration that includes coordination of public participation in governance as well as county planning and development to get 20% of the allocation. This is the biggest share despite the numerous outcries from the members of the public for what they call; the failure of the county governments to involve them in administration and development activities.

This formula also allows the governors to allocate 5% of the resources to the control of issues like pornography and air pollution.

To ensure prudent use of all these resources, CRA, allows 2% of the total allocation to audit and the related services. A similar percentage is supposed to go to revenue collection activities.

In the financial year 2020/2021; the 47 counties will share approximately Ksh321Billion using the formula that is based on population, land area, poverty, fiscal effort, development, and basic equal share.

Since devolution, the sharing formula has been a debate and a source of disagreements between the governors and the senators as well as the national government. The governors have been complaining of what they call little allocation of the resources to sort the unending issues that the county governments’ are mandated to address.

The national government, the senators, and a few other stakeholders have for a long time accused some governors of misappropriation of the funds where most times the recurrent expenditure takes more than 70% of the availed funds leaving very little to cover development activities that impacts on the people.

In Meru, where the Assembly has approved the Sh10.2 billion budget, Governor Kiraitu Murungi will be doing the unenviable task of balancing the figures, even as he battles a worryingly ballooning wage bill.

The equitable share stands at Sh8.1b, with the county expecting to raise the balance from grants and own revenue.

Governor Kiraitu has the development and recurrent expenditure standing at 30 percent and 70 percent (or Sh7.3b), respectively.

The Meru administration plans to focus on investments in agriculture, boreholes, infrastructure, and technical education for economic development in the 2020-2021 financial year.

The administration will bank on these projects, as well as injecting funds into economic empowerment for youth, women, people living with disabilities, and Early Childhood and Development Education and Youth Polytechnics.

According to Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu who also doubles as the Finance Executive, the focus of 2020-2021 will be to build on the positive economic development realized so far through investments in water, improved infrastructure, and revitalization of the agriculture sector.

Ntuchiu said the devolved unit had made significant investments in health, education and trade sectors, and aimed to continue the pace of development by focusing on these areas.

“These priorities form the basis for the formulation of the 2020-2021 budget and the medium-term expenditure framework,” he said.

Currently, Meru county has 1,545, 714 people residing in an area that covers 7,006 square Kilometers who expect services from the county government.

With a large number of people living with disabilities complaining about lack of support, the residents of the county expect the Kiraitu government to spend funds on the provision of assistive devices, issuance of seed capital, skills acquisition, and establishment of rescue centers.

Ntuchiu told the Eastern Newspaper, that though the administration was grappling with a bloated wage bill, they were restructuring to address the challenge.

In Tharaka Nithi has a KSh5.1b budget, with Sh3.8b as equitable share and conditional grants amounting to Sh993.1m, and another Sh325m as own source revenue.

Recurrent expenditure will get Sh3.4b or 67 percent of the budget as development expenditure allocated Sh1.7b.

Agriculture got Sh704.4m, Cooperatives and Industry Sh574.3m as Livestock, veterinary and Fisheries received Sh130.1m.

The county that has a population of 393,177 people plans to use KSh1.6b in the department of Health. Education gets Sh434m while Roads will have Sh495m. The county covers 3,544 square kilometers.

In Embu where they have Sh6.46b to work with, Sh4.5b is in the form of equitable share.

Conditional grants and loans amount to Sh998.05m and own revenue is Sh909m

The county that has a population of 608,599 people and covering 2,821 square kilometers has the expenditure on recurrent that will consume Sh4.3b while development got Sh2.08b.

The lion’s share went to health (2,08b) representing 32.19% of the total budget, while Public Works Transport and got Sh1.1b.

Marsabit County is one of the largest counties in the country in the land area has a population of 5,749 people covering an area of 66,923 Kilometers squared.

Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali seems to have come up with a balancing act, with Sh4.3b going to recurrent expenditure and Sh3.5b injected into development projects.

Governor Ali also looks to have set the goal of generating Sh150m in its revenue.

Out of the total kitty, however, a whopping Sh2.1b, or 25.6 percent of the total budget, will go to the health sector. Youth and Sports got Sh837m as Agriculture got Sh738.6m.

Each of the 20 MCAs will have a kitty of Sh50m to undertake development projects as requested by the residents during the budget public participation process.

Ali said all on-going flagship projects that include Marsabit Stadium, fish factory at Loiyangalani, and the Marsabit Medical Training College would be completed this financial year.

Samburu County government’s total budget is Sh5.1b, with Sh3.9b as equitable share, and Sh659.3m as conditional grants from the national government, and a further Sh280.3m from its revenue.

Sh2.1b has been set as recurrent expenditure while Sh1.6b is meant for development.

The education department will use Sh383.4m as recurrent and Sh106.7m for development.

Health has a total of Sh1.1b, with Sh933.4m as recurrent and balance for development.

The county has a population of 310,327 and a land area covering 20,182 square Kilometers.

The 268,002 people living in Isiolo County have great hopes that governor Mohamed Kuti will use his wisdom to put funds in areas that transform their lives.

The county that covers a land area of 25,336 square kilometers received 4.138 billion shillings from the equitable share of resources that is expected to be topped up by the own revenue and the grants.

Among the sensitive areas that touch on the residents of Isiolo County are health and education.

Some activists have demonstrated against the details of budgeting citing a lack of focus on key priority areas in the county in the county budget.

A preview on the counties’ budget reveals that the governor Kuti led government has allocated Ksh35 million for bursaries, 5.3 million for polytechnics, and 10 million is expected to fund ECDEs.

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