Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru says MCAs budget changes are illegal

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru says MCAs budget changes are illegal
FILE PHOTO | Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru during a past meeting.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has accused the County Assembly of arm-twisting county executives to settle their scores using the 2020-2021 budget for selfish gains.

In a press release Waiguru issued on Wednesday, the Kirinyaga County boss said the MCAs disregarded the law instead of putting interests of residents first.

Terming their actions as ‘selfish’, Waiguru insisted that they have no powers to arbitrarily amend the budget.

The governor said that besides failing to approve the budget on time, the assembly amended the budget allocating more funds – to the tune of Ksh. 200million more- for themselves.

This according to her is in total disregard of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) 2012 which limits the expenditures by the County Assembly to lower than twice the amount of personal emoluments or 7% of total revenues of the county government.

In the budget estimates for the year 2020/2021, 70% of the county’s revenue is Ksh. 369million while their personal emoluments are Ksh. 241million. However the County Assembly has allocated itself Ksh. 569million.

The governor also stated that Regulation 37(1) of the PFM (County Government) Regulations 2015 limits the County Assembly variations on budget votes to 1% of the ceilings and so the MCAs have no powers to arbitrarily remove funds from one vote to another.

“The estimates for the County Executive and the County Assembly are covered by the ceilings which are contained in the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) and therefore, these amounts are ring-fenced by the act and cannot be amended in the budget estimates,” she said.

She also accused the assembly of illegally assigning itself the role of developing a County Appropriation bill which is the role of the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Finance.

Waiguru further noted that the budget making process allows for consultation on the budget estimates prior to the debate and approval of the Appropriation Bill.

She maintained that the executive followed all the requirements in the budget making process which included wide consultations with the assembly and members of public through various public participation forums.

“Besides, the executive has been furnishing the assembly with budget implementation status reports as required which gives the assembly an opportunity to scrutinize the progress of execution of development projects in their respective wards as well as budget absorption,” she said.

She, however, stated that Regulation 38(1) of the PFM (County Regulations) 2015 anticipates the possible scenario of budget estimates not being approved by the County Assembly by the beginning of a financial year.

In this scenario, the controller of budget may authorize the withdrawal of 50% of the last approved budget for meeting expenditures of the County government.

On the purported passing of a motion to stop the executive from collecting revenue from traders within the county, the governor stated that variation of revenue, levies or taxes can only be effected through a Finance Bill and not a motion as conceived by the MCAs.

“Residents of Kirinyaga should therefore not be deceived to participate in illegal pronouncements by some members of the assembly,” she said.

She called upon the assembly members to direct their efforts on issues that will benefit the residents who put them into office and desist from issues that jeopardize the county’s development agenda.

Chairman of the budget committee David Mathenge (Baragwi Ward MCA) responded to the Governor saying they followed act from the office of the controller of budget under article 228 of the Constitution to oversee and report on implementation of the budgets of both the national and county governments to each house of parliament every four months

“The assembly requested for staff audited report but she failed to respond,” Mathenge said.

He alleged that Waiguru’s budget allocation to some department deviated from the ceiling contained in the county fiscal strategic paper adopted by the county assembly of Kirinyaga.

“She failed to provide sufficient information of the location of all projects in the budget to enhance openness and accountability in line with Article 201 of the constitution,” Mathenge added.

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Story By Johnson Muriithi
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