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Kisumu lags in Road Funds Absorption

An audit report reveals that the County government of Kisumu utilized only 16 per cent of funds allocated to it by the Kenya Roads Board (KRB) as at June this year..

The report further says Kisumu county could also not access Sh43 million as at the time of the audit after failing to submit mandatory quarterly reports spelt out as a requisite to accessing the grant fund.

The revelation came to  the fore when the KRB management team paid a courtesy call on governor  Anyang’ Nyong’o at his office during a tour to assess the implementation of KRB funded projects in the county on Tuesday.

KRB Chairperson Rita Kavase led her team in holding talks with Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and key stakeholders including top regional officials from the Kenya National Highways Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority prior to the tour.

The Board has allocated Sh181 million to Kisumu in the current financial year which is Sh60 million less than the amount given to the county in the previous financial year.

KRB Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Jacob Ruwa said Kisumu is among the counties that were blocked from accessing part of their allocation for failing to meet some of the requisite conditions.

The board requires counties to, among other conditions, set up a special purpose account, approval of budgets by the respective county assemblies and preparing the works program before they can access the grant.

“Kisumu is among the 12 counties that could not access Sh43 million of its allocation on account of non-receipt of reports,” Ruwa said but clarified that the money was eventually released after the county complied.

The county is also on the spot light for slow implementation of projects leading to an overlap with some of the projects started in the financial year 2016/2017 yet to be completed.

The agency is also concerned with compliance to normal financial procedures after disclosing that Sh11 million worth of vouchers were paid without being stamped.

It emerged that though the county opened a Special Purpose Account, some Sh9 million had not been transferred to the SPA in accordance with the guidelines at the time of inspection, the report states.

Ms. Kavase is now calling on the county government to upscale its uptake of the roads grant and ensure that citizens get value for their money.

“We expect the counties to use monies allocated to them fully and in good time so that citizens can realize the value for their money,” noted Kavase

The County Executive for Roads, Thomas Owiti however attributed the lag in completing the road works on teething problems associated with change of regime and unfavorable weather experienced during the period under review.

Owiti disclosed that the county had straightened most of the issues raised by the agency and lobbied for an increase of the KRB allocation to counties from 15% to 25% citing ongoing plans to launch a mass transport system in the in the city.

“We have fast-tracked the process and currently the county is processing road tenders worth over Sh500 million in efforts to ensure that the county utilizes resources it receives optimally,” said Owiti

The Deputy Governor on his part regretted the findings of the audit report and pledged commitment to turn the situation around ahead of the next audit in February next year.

Good road network, Owili said, was a core tenet in attaining food security and rolling out the Universal Health Care programme in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda.

By Milton Onyango

 

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