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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Report raises red flag over budget cash use

International budget Partnership,IBP country manager Jason Lakin during the counties resource allocation conference in Nairobi on September20,2016./FILE
International budget Partnership,IBP country manager Jason Lakin during the counties resource allocation conference in Nairobi on September20,2016./FILE

National and county governments have omitted crucial information in their budget reports in the last four years, a new report suggested yesterday.

The report by the International Budget Partnership raised questions about transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.

IBP Kenya report indicated that quarterly budget reports released by the National Treasury and the devolved governments often lack important data and offer limited explanation for successes or challenges in budget implementation.

“Every quarter, each level of government must produce a budget implementation report. Unfortunately, these reports are often unavailable, late and incomplete,” IBP Kenya’s country manager Jason Lakin said yesterday during a public forum in Nairobi.

Both national and county governments are required by law to publish updated budget reports every quarter.

These reports are meant to provide legislators and the public updates on revenue and spending, but also on whether government is using public funds to deliver services.

“None of the available budget implementation reports provide adequate explanations on why certain ministries or agencies spend almost their entire budget, or even more, while others struggle to spend. Implementation reports should shed light on these challenges,” IBP Kenya research analyst Mokeira Nyagaka said.

According to the report, its impossible to determine the actual size of the national wage bill due to inadequate data.

The 2015p-16 budget report published by the Office of the Controller of Budget shows a 10 per cent rise in the national government wage bill from Sh283 billion in 2014/15 to Sh312 billion in 2015/16.

The figures are slightly different compared to Quarterly Economic & Budgetary Review which shows the wage bill rose from Sh293 billion in 2014-15 to Sh307 billion in 2015-16.

“In both cases, numbers do not seem to include state corporation salaries. The size of the wage bill at the national level is unclear,” Nyagaka said.

The study, however, indicates the absorption of development budgets at national and county level is improving.

The national government’s spending against budget improved by 20 percentage points between 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Improved spending by energy and infrastructure ministries departments and agencies like transport was the biggest driver of this trend.

Development spending at the county level also improved from 62 per cent to 65 per cent in the same period.

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