Garissa County denies allocating zero funds to development

Garissa County denies allocating zero funds to development
Garissa County Governor Ali Korane. PHOTO| COURTESY

Garissa County Governor Ali Korane has dismissed a report by the Controller of Budget that said his administration allocated zero shillings for development in the 2018/19 financial year.

Governor Korane, through County Chief Officer of Finance Ibrahim Malow, described the report as misleading and erroneous, noting that it only focuses on the first quarter (three months) of the current financial year.

According to Mr. Malow, the report portrays the county in bad light yet there is no legal requirement that funds must be spent on development within the first quarter of the financial year.

“It’s not a crime not to spend on development in the first quarter, it’s within the prerogative of the county to decide when to spend on development or recurrent expenditure, as long as it’s within the financial year,” he said.

He added: “The county can decide to spend all it’s development funds on the last quarter of the financial year. There nothing wrong with the counties that have zero development in this report by the Controller of Budget.”

Mr. Malow further described the first quarter of the financial year as a “dry spell” period for the county, noting that there was a delay in disbursement of funds.

“The report was made in the first quarter of the financial year (July, August and September) which is a dry spell period for the county government. We received our disbursement for July and August in September. So once we receive the money we prioritise to pay salaries and buy drugs for hospitals,” he explained.

Mr. Malow pointed out that the county had done a lot to end water crisis in the county by digging over 30 boreholes, setting up a modern health facilities at the Garissa Referral Hospital which is almost complete, and a modern structure to house the county headquarters.

On Monday, the new Council of Governor’s chairman Wycliffe Oparanya also dismissed the Controller of Budget’s report saying that it is impossible for any county to have zero allocation for development.

“Such a scenario is not inconceivable and is impossible to countenance. A situation of zero allocation to development is not anticipated because the Public Finance Management Act stipulates that 30 percent of all revenues allocated to a county be set aside for development,” said Mr Oparanya.

Speaking at a meeting at the CoG headquarters in Nairobi said if a county was to allocate zero funds to development, such a budget would not be approved by the assembly.

Oparanya, whose county was cited as having allocated only 1 percent of the Ksh.1.6 billion to development, said the little allocation by counties is due to delays in disbursement of funds.

Other counties that had been reported as having allocated zero shillings on development include Machakos, Meru, Marsabit, Nyandarua and Mombasa.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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