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Nyeri to spend over one billion on projects

The County Government of Nyeri plans to inject at least Sh1.6 billion to complete various development projects across the eight sub-counties.

The money expected to be spent over the remainder of the 2023/2024 financial year will, among others, go towards the improvement of key infrastructure projects such as markets and basic social utility facilities such as completion of hospitals.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga while delivering his New Year address to residents of Nyeri, similarly said his administration will also spend a substantial amount of the money renovating milk processing plants and upgrading rural roads to enhance transit of agricultural products from the farms to the markets.

“From our county-specific projects, we will spend Sh1.6B in development. These range from the county industrial park, the completion of Karatina Level Hospital emergency block, various renovation works in all our hospitals, sports equipment, upgrading stadiums, the completion of the Kairuthi Milk plant, purchasing empowerment equipment, cabros, upgrade of town roads, the purchase of disaster response equipment, and equipping sanitation, among many other projects,” read his statement.

“We have operationalized the Field Marshal Muthoni Kirima Bus Park, which should be fully occupied by the end of January. The Narumoru hospital has taken off albeit with staffing challenges. We will recruit 125 medical personnel to further boost the staffing. We are positive that we will be able to clear the pending issue of the valuation roll after setting up the valuation court, which begins its sittings on January 8, 2024. This will allow all disputes to be resolved,” he added.

According to figures from the Office of the Chief Officer, Economic Planning and Budgeting, the county spent a total of Sh89,248,853 to fund various development projects in the county during the first quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year.

At the same time, Sh1,092,421,717 was spent on recurrent expenditures.

Last year, the Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o listed at least ten counties that had failed to allocate a single coin on development but ended up gobbling up all their funds to finance recurrent expenditures.

The counties on the spot included Nairobi, Embu, Homa Bay, Kericho, Kilifi, Machakos, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot.

According to Nyakang’o, the said counties had diverted all the allocated funds to pay salaries and allowances and run operations while starving their people of crucial development projects such as roads, water, and health.

Kahiga also lauded his staff and members of the Nyeri County Assembly for their input in placing the county among the best-performing devolved units in the country.

The county boss said this had seen the county not only named the best in terms of governance but also in terms of having the best crop of county assembly lawmakers.

And to prove the cordial working relationship between the executive and members of the County Assembly, Kahiga said a total of Sh735 million had been set up to fund various development projects across the 300 wards.

The county was also ranked top in terms of collection of its source revenue after it managed to raise Sh610,656,883 (76.3 percent) against a projection of Sh800,000,000 during this period.

“Our county has been rated high in several things. Nyeri was the best county in the HR Awards in governance. We too were leading in Collection of own-source revenue, not forgetting that we were also among the counties with high development expenditure, best road network, the best education, and the county with the lowest pending bills,” he pointed out.

“Our County Assembly was rated the best in Kenya, thanks to the honourable members. This year, the Honourable Ward Representatives have lined up 300 ward projects to cost Sh735,000,000. These projects cover all departments and range from roads, streetlights, classrooms, dispensaries, bridges, and agricultural programmes,” stated the county boss.

During his county address in November last year, Kahiga listed improvements in agriculture, education, health, and infrastructure as some of his key achievements during his first year in office.

The Governor also said the county had managed to clear all pending bills owed to suppliers and attributed this achievement to sound fiscal discipline in his administration.

He also said the county had managed to retain the statutory requirement of 30 percent of the total budget for development purposes, with the county managing to absorb 96 percent of the money disbursed by the Treasury.

“We have ensured and sustained expenditure and fiscal discipline, which has given the county a clean bill of health in the absorption of the annually allocated resources from the national treasury as well as the externally disbursed resources, an average of 96 percent annually.

We also ensured that the development budget was retained according to the statutory requirement of 30 percent of the total budget. Additionally, I must attest at the outset that Nyeri County has cleared all committed pending bills owed to our supplies,” he told the lawmakers.

By Samuel Maina

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