Efforts by Laikipia County government to reallocate funds meant for development to finance the recurrent expenditure yesterday hit a dead end after the local county assembly rejected the second supplementary budget presented by the executive.
The executive had proposed to divert Sh. 265 million from the development fund to recurrent to pay salaries for the next three months but the assembly budget committee, in a report shot down the proposal arguing that the move was improper as it was against regulations by the Controller of Budget to stifle development expenditure.
The report read in part, “this house disregards the contents of the supplementary budget 2018/2019 on the grounds of impracticability given that we have four days left to the close of this financial year.”
The budget committee further noted that adoption of the supplementary budget by the house would mean that all development projects passed in the first supplementary budget would not be implemented.
The budget committee also ordered the Labour and Social Welfare and Community Services Committee to provide a report to the assembly on the actual expenditures on the personal emoluments and the projections for the financial year 2019/2020 and two outer years.
Marmanet Ward representative Simon Kanyutu who is also a member of the budget committee while contributing to the debate on the report said they could not comprehend how the county government had fallen short on the recurrent budget yet enough funds had been factored for the same in the previous budget.
“Let the executive tell us where money meant to pay workers’ salaries went to,” Kanyutu said.
Mukogodo West MCA George Meshami alleged that county funds had been misappropriated by the executive and that was the reason a supplementary budget was brought to the house to plug the deficit.
“The Public Finance Management Act dictates that at least 30 percent of all county funds should be channeled for development, if we approve this budget, less than 10 percent will be left for development,” Meshami said.
The MCAs observed that bloated wage bill was as a result of irregular recruitment of employees by the executive where they draw huge salaries against the Salaries and Remuneration Commission guidelines. They cited Laikipia County Development Authority (LCDA) as one of the organizations where staff were employed irregularly.
The move by the assembly is likely to see county workers go without salaries for June, July and August with fears that it might ground operations and service delivery at the devolved unit.
By Martin Munyi