Sonko loses as NMS to control Ward Fund

NMS takes charge of Ward Development Fund after MCAs moved it from Governor's office to Public Works

In Summary

• Governor Sonko has 14 days to sign the Bill or send it back oto the assembly with his objections.

• Out of county's Sh35.5 billion, NMS has been allocated Sh27.1 billion 

Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Moahmmed Badi (centre), overnor Mike Sonko and Nairobi MCAs at KICC on August 23.
MORE POWER: Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Moahmmed Badi (centre), overnor Mike Sonko and Nairobi MCAs at KICC on August 23.

Governor Mike Sonko has suffered another blow and loss of power as the county assembly shifts the Ward Development Fund from Sonko's office to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

The move took place as MCAs on Thursday last week approved the county budget of Sh35.5 billion after amending the appropriations bill. NMS got Sh27.1 billion.

The Ward Development Fund was allocated Sh 1.3 bill, with Sh30 million being recurrent expenditure and Sh1.3 billion being for development.

Assembly Budget committee chairman Robert Mbatia said relocation of the WDF to NMS was to ensure all projects in the wards will be completed on time.

“Under development, we have transferred in totality the Ward Development Fund component from the Office of the Governor to Public Works, which is now under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services,” he said.

“On WDF, we request the office be relocated because it is a fund and its budget and allocation are under Public Works,” Mbatia added.

The Nairobi City County Wards Development Fund, 2014 provides for establishment of the Ward Development Fund and and a management committee to carry out development projects.

Approved projects must be community-based.

In March last year, MCAs deplored that the county hadn't fast-tracked implementation of the fund.

They accused the executive of taking them in circles since 2014, blaming the Controller of Budget for not releasing the ward funds.

Four core functions have been transferred to NMS - Health, Transport, Public Works, Utilities and ancillary works, Planning and Development.

NMS has been allocated Sh18 billion for recurrent expenditure and Sh9.1 billion for development.

Governor Sonko’s administration has been allocated Sh6.4 billion for the remaining functions.

Under NMS, the Health will receive the lion’s share of Sh8.1 billion; Transport and Public Works Sh3.6 billion; Urban Planning and Lands Sh891 million, Water and Natural Resources Sh3.3 billion; Housing and Urban Development Sh1.1 billion' Energy and Lighting Sh3.3 billion and Ward Development Funds Sh1.3 billion.

On transferring money from the county to NMS, Mbatia said the issue had been addressed when President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the County Allocation Revenue Act last week.

"Section 7, subsection 3, indicates we can transfer funds from County Revenue Fund to National Government, so that is well catered for. Whoever now refuses to do so, there is law that can even punish [them] for that,” he said.

Majority leader Abdi Guyo said all sectors were allocated fairly to deliver services.

“It was a tiresome process trying to balance both the needs of NMS and the county but the document has allocated funds where needed,” he said.

'“No illegality has been committed because the transferred functions have well been catered for and the agenda of the President in Nairobi has to be prioritised,” Guyo said.

Minority leader Michael Ogada said MS holds the key to development in transferred functions and thus has more than Sh7 billion allocated to development.

“NMS, having the four county functions, has received the funds they require to deliver services to Nairobi residents as expected by the President," he said.

Under Standing Order 145, Governor Sonko has 14 days to either sign the Bill or refer it back to the assembly with a memorandum listing his objections.

(Edited by V. Graham)