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Treasury lags in county disbursement by close to Sh100 billion

In Summary

• National treasury disbursements of funds to the counties is lagging behind by Sh95.05 billion two months to the end of 2018/2019 financial year.

• County governments received a total of Sh234.28 billion in the period ending April 30 indicating an increasing trend of stalled projects and pending bills by suppliers.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich. /FILE
Treasury CS Henry Rotich. /FILE

National Treasury disbursements of funds to the counties is lagging behind by Sh95.05 billion two months to the end of 2018/2019 financial year.

County governments received a total of Sh234.28 billion in the period ending April 30.

The slow pace in disbursing funds to the devolved units is blamed for many stalled projects and pending bills by suppliers.

The total allocation to the devolved units in the current financial year was Sh329.34 billion in equitable share by the national government and conditional grants from state departments and agencies.

According to the exchequer  Kiambu, Nairobi City, Nakuru and Turkana received Sh8.70 billion, Sh10.74 billion, Sh7.85 billion and Sh7.42 billion respectively in exclusion of Appropriation in Aid during the period.

The list of counties that received the lowest allocations in the 10 months include Lamu (Sh2.54 billion), Taita Taveta (Sh2.89 billion), Elgeyo Marakwet (Sh2.72 billion) and Kirinyaga County (Sh2.92 billion).

The National Treasury may struggle to close the balance as the year ends considering that rtotal revenue collection is behind by  almost Sh600 billion.

The revenue collection statistics as published in the recent  Kenya Gazette show  the government has only managed to collect a total of Sh1.905 trillion in the period against the revised target of Sh2.58 trillion.

The expected total collection target was revised downwards last year from Sh2.62 trillion due expected lag in domestic collections.

The amount includes, total domestic tax collections, domestic borrowing, loans and international organizations grants.

The amount collected represents an under-performance even in collection by Kenya Revenue Authority which is also marking a miss with total tax income currently at Sh1.160 trillion.

This is despite measures the tax authority undertook last year to seal tax gaps including raising excise duties against inflation on products including cigarettes, alcohol and juices.

Early this year, treasury made a cut to the projected revenue target for the current fiscal year by five per cent to Sh1.605 trillion, being the second year in a row to make the same decision. The original projection was to raise Sh1.690 trillion.

In the financial year 2017/2018, KRA collected Sh1.37 trillion even after revising the target to Sh1.415 trillion.

National Treasury CS Henry Rotich stated that the domestic borrowing was at Sh537.46 billion in the period, comprising of net domestic borrowing Sh317. 11 billion and internal debt roll-overs of Sh220.35 billion.

The continued mismatch of expenditure and revenue that forces the government to borrow more, may also push the treasury to slash the spending projections for the 2019/2020 financial year to accommodate the lower revenue collections baselines.

In the 2019/20 financial year beginning July 1, the government intends to increase spending by a 7.56 per cent to Sh2.70 trillion from the Sh2.51 trillion in the current 2018/19 year.

The expenditure include Sh1.65 trillion and Sh670.9 billion of recurrent and development expenditure respectively.

Counties also anticipate approval of County Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2019 to assist in financing national strategic interventions.

The bill in mediation between the Senate and the National Assembly proposes the allocation of total Sh372.74 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year. This will comprises of an equitable share of Sh310 billion and additional conditional allocations of Sh61.6 billion or 6 percent of the most recent audited revenue.