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Bizarre budget reports smack of impunity.

The county budget-making process is divided into four stages. It starts with budget formulation between August to the end of April. This is when projections, departmental estimate that leads to the production of programme-based estimates, are made. These are tabled in county assemblies by April 30.

The second is the approval stage where county assemblies scrutinise the figures and approve by vote head and programme. Every shilling that is to be spent in the financial year is discussed and approved or rejected.

At that point, because we have the committee system, every committee of the house looks at the respective sectoral budget. Later, the whole house sits to vote by June 30 to approve by passing the appropriation bill, they also pass the finance bill which is the taxation law to give them the power to collect money to implement budgets, but for counties, their cash is what comes from the shareable revenue.

There is a whole year of implementation that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Counties are supposed, by law, to provide quarterly implementation reports.

On June 30 all books of account for all government entities are closed meaning no further expenditure can be undertaken. This ushers in the Auditor General to review the books of account. The process should take six months.

Meaning, by December last year we ought to have had the audit reports which are sent to county assemblies.

The entire budgeting and implementation and auditing process, therefore, takes on average three years.

It is surprising that such spending was not noticed through all this process.

The county assemblies should have been the first to raise the questions the Senate is raising. Kiambu County Assembly, for instance, has an oversight role over their governor and his executive, they should have been the ones asking the questions.

The facts that these anomalies are being raised at the Senate and not counties tells a story of failed assemblies or MCAs who have gone to bed with the executive.

Because they are the ones who should be asking questions along the implementation period and demanding answers.

All the money that the counties spend is not kept in cash, it's kept in the county revenue account held at the Central Bank of Kenya.

The money leaves CBK, with authorisation of the Controller of Budget. And is only through IFMIS that payments are made to budgeted programmes only.

Therefore one will expect that the spending could have been noticed at this stage too.

But what we are witnessing is pure recklessness informed by the attitude that nothing will be done on those pilfering county cash.

It is evident that there is a section of the institution that isn't working, and that should worry us all.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:May 7, 2019
Words:518
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