Marsabit County Assembly has unanimously endorsed a Sh7.8 billion budget for the 2020/2021 financial year proposed by the Executive.
The County allocated Sh3.5 billion for Development while the Recurrent expenditure got Sh 4.3 billion of the total estimates that was presented to the House by the Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairperson Daud Tomasot.
According to projections the county hopes to increase revenue collection in the financial year in focus to Sh150 million compared to the just ended 2019-2020 fiscal year that managed to collect Sh67 million owing to economic disruptions occasioned by Covid-19 outbreak.
The Health Services sector received the lion’s share of Sh2.01 billion which translates to 25.6 percent of the total budget while the County Executive was allocated Sh995 million (12.7 percent) while the Education, Skills Development, Youth & Sports got Sh837 million (10.7 percent).
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries docket has been allocated Sh738.6 million with MCAs calling for increased allocation in order to promote agriculture for enhanced food security.
And in a bid to promote environmental conservation through green energy and provide sustained water supply to the residents the Water, Environment, Energy and Natural Resources department was allocated Sh568.1 million. The County Public Service Board got Sh95 million (1.2 percent). The department of Tourism, Culture & Social Services received Sh 144.8 million.
The devolved unit’s endeavor to promote its revenue collection base through the domestic tourism.
According to the financial estimates, Women, Youth and People living with disabilities empowerment programs were allocated Sh 6.1 million while special interest groups got Sh13.9 million.
Flagship projects were also factored where Marsabit Stadium which is a joint project between the county government and national government (Sports Kenya) received Sh50 million to finance its completion.
Each of the 20 ward representatives would receive Sh 50 million to undertake development projects as requested by the residents during the budget public participation process.
In an effort to enhance quality teaching at the ECDE level, the county government has set aside Sh12.7 million for improving salaries of ECDE teachers.
Twelve departments also came into focus for failing to budget pension and gratuity for their staff for the last three years which the report stated had accumulated to over Sh 4 million.
“This trend should be checked because failure to do so is likely to become a liability to this county in future,” cautioned Mr Tomasot.
The budget statement further indicates that the county pending bills owed to suppliers and creditors stood at Sh462 million.
The budget and appropriations committee suggests that the Public Participation exercise should target literate and informed residents at the grassroots for better opinions on budgeting.
However, the estimates did not directly factor the Covid-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts allegedly because the Health Department had received a grant of Sh 28.8 million and another kitty of Sh 132 million for leasing Medical Equipment from the national government.
Assenting to the budget, Governor Mohamud Ali hailed the good working relations between the executive and the county assembly which he said had enabled the region to make big strides in development.
Governor Ali said at his residence that 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.
He further assured the initiative to establish a 300 bed capacity at local health facilities in preparedness for Covid-19 pandemic as directed by the President was on.
“May I recognize the visionary leadership that we have at the county assembly which has never acted in a manner that could inhibit service delivery to our people,” said the governor adding that the cordial relations between the two independent entities has always made best decisions on behalf of residents.
The county assembly speaker Mathew Loltome observed that the assembly managed to conduct public participation through mass media like local FM radio stations in a bid to overcome challenges posed by Covid-19.
He called for prudent use of the funds saying that the assembly would continue carrying out its oversight role as expected, the good working relations with the executive notwithstanding.
By Sebastian Miriti