SH90 MILLION LOST

Kwale revenue collection plummets due to Covid-19

County had projected to collect own revenue of Sh325 million, only got Sh235 million

In Summary

• Finance executive Bakari Sebe said the loss was caused by county tax waivers and dwindling  business activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

•He said they have been surviving on the supplementary budgets and balances that are almost exhausted.

Kwale county government headquarters in Matuga constituency.
KWALE HQ: Kwale county government headquarters in Matuga constituency.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Kwale county has lost Sh90 millon in collected revenue in 2019-20 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finance executive Bakari Sebe said the county had projected to collect its own revenue of about Sh325 million through the payment of fees and charges. It only collected Sh235 million.

Sebe said the loss was caused by waiver of county fees and levies and dwindling business activities due to the pandemic.

Governor Salim Mvurya had waived penalties for land rates and interest for single-business permits. He suspended market entry and market stall fees to cushion residents from the effects of Covid-19.

Also waived were outpatient charges in public health facilities, monthly parking fees for matatus, tuk-tuks and boda bodas and daily parking fees for private vehicles.

The waivers were first granted for two months, then extended for 30 days after residents complained.

Sebe said the waivers largely derailed efforts to collect the revenue target.

County executive for finance Bakari Sebe at Kenya School of Government.
FINANCE: County executive for finance Bakari Sebe at Kenya School of Government.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

“What the governor did was noble but economically it affected us because our revenue significantly dropped,” he said.

He said the situation is expected to deteriorate this year if normaly isn't restored.

Lockdown, travel bans and some public health Covid-19 protocols are also responsible for the drop in revenue, the finance executive said.

He said if the government were to reintroduce stringent measures, the county budget would be at stake. That would be mean the national equitble share will drop as well, Sebe said.

He urged the national government to release county funds, saying Kwale has not received its share since October last year.

The county has been surviving on supplementary budgets and balances that are almost exhausted.

“I beg the government to go back on the old county disbursement schedule so every month we get the money because things are escalating to the worst,” he said.

Earlier, counties were given money quarterly, then monthly.

Sebe emphasised that funds are well utilised and spent legally.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris