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SONKO REJECTS BUDGET

NMS, City Hall to wait longer for county funds

Speaker Mutura says governor's memorandum will be considered after the assembly resumes in two weeks time

In Summary

•Governor unhappy with the budget after MCAs approved Sh27.1 billion for Major Mohammed Badi-led NMS. City Hall got Sh8.4 billion. Soniko wants the NMS allocations cancelled 

Nairobi County Assembly chambers on October 8, 2020
Nairobi County Assembly chambers on October 8, 2020
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Both the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and City Hall will have to wait longer to access funds for operations after Governor Mike Sonko refused to assent to the budget.

Sonko rejected the Sh37.7 billion budget and returned it to the county assembly with a memorandum. He cited seven reasons for his rejection.

Both NMS and City Hall cannot access county funds until the budget is signed by the governor.

Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura on Saturday said the memorandum will be considered in two weeks time after the house resumes plenary sittings on November 3. The MCAs are on recess.

“The memorandum was brought to the assembly after we had adjourned and it will have to wait. But if the house feels the urgency to consider it, then a special sitting can be called,” Mutura said.

The assembly's Finance, Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Robert Mbatia said that the speaker has to first commit the memorandum to the house before it goes to the committee.

"Once the memorandum is committed, as a committee, we have 21 days to look into it," Mbatia said.

"The committee will only look into the issues that were raised by the governor. After looking into the issues, we shall report back to the assembly. Whether we agree with him or not, we need a two-thirds majority of the MCAs to support or reject the memorandum,” 

Standing orders state that if the assembly amends the bill taking into consideration the issues raised by the governor, the speaker shall within 14 days submit it to the governor for assent.

“If the county assembly passes the bill a second time, without amendment or with amendments which do not accommodate the governor’s concerns by a vote supported by two-thirds of MCA, the speaker shall within seven days re-submit the bill to the governor and the governor shall within seven days assent to the bill.” 

But if the governor fails to assent to a bill or refer it back within the period referred to, the bill shall be taken to have been assented to on the expiry of that period.

At least 80 MCAs are required to back or reject the memorandum to achieve the two-thirds rule.

Ziwani MCA Millicent Mugadi said Sonko should stop resisting the budget because he handed over the functions of City Hall to the national government. He asked the governor to deliver to city residents on the remaining sectors.

"NMS has no time for politics. It's obvious his (Sonko's) actions are to sabotage the NMS but there is no time for war beause Nairobians are suffering and need services," Mugadi said 

"The President's agenda must be respected. We are in support of NMS and we will make sure the budget passes for them and there is no bargain on that," she added.

Sonko is unhappy with the budget after MCAs approved Sh27.1 billion for Major Mohammed Badi-led NMS. The governor's administration got Sh8.4 billion with the other Sh2 billion allocated to the county assembly.

In his memorandum, Sonko said the budget had a huge deficit and suggested all allocations done to NMS be cancelled.

"In exercise of the powers conferred on me by Section 24(2) (b) of the County Governments Act, 2012, I refuse to assent to the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020," Sonko said.

 

Edited by P.O