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May 20, 2018

MCAs get an additional Sh1.7 billion for allowances

Nairobi MCAs during a past session at the county assembly, September 7, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI
Nairobi MCAs during a past session at the county assembly, September 7, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI

MCAs have been allocated an additional Sh1.7 billion to cater for their allowances. 

The ward reps had requested senators for Sh2.1 billion to "effectively discharge their mandate".

The Senate Finance Committee chaired by Mandera Senator Mohamed Mohamud gave them an additional Sh610 million for sitting allowances and Sh38 million for speakers’ increased salaries.

The MCAs also got Sh286 million for rent and operational expenses of nominated members and another Sh213 million for training and capacity building of staff.

The additional allocated also had Sh225 million for public participation in county lawmaking processes.

"We have given MCAs the additional funds to cover the shortfalls arising from the calculations of the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA)," Makuen Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr told the Star yesterday.

According to Mutula, the CRA calculated MCAs sittings for 10 months and not the 12 months of the financial year.

CRA had allocated Sh31 billion to the county assemblies.

Two weeks ago, the county assembly clerks led by Wajir’s Mohamed Osman and his Busia’s Allan Mabuka asked senators to increase their allocation for effective service delivery.

"The plenary sitting allowance for MCAs was not included in the CRA recommended ceiling," Osman said.

CRA chairperson Jane Kiringai, who was present during the presentation, opposed the MCAs request, saying additional funds would undermine service delivery.

"County assemblies have been given Sh4 billion for service delivery. Giving them an additional Sh2 billion will not be in line with the spirit of devolution," Kiringai said.

The MCAs had proposed to be allocated Sh140 million for digitisation of county assembly chambers and another Sh166 million for office and chamber furniture.

They also wanted Sh208 million for medical cover.

They argued that the benefits had been restored by the court following their scrapping by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

SRC scrapped MCAs allowances in a gazette notice dated July 7, last year.

The High Court suspended the notice in January.

Justice Chacha Mwita said SRC should not affect the new salaries pending hearing and determination of the suit.

The additional allocation raises county assemblies budget to Sh32.8 billion.

A report by the Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo said county assembly expenditure reduced by 67 per cent during the period the MCAs allowances were scrapped.

"MCAs sitting allowance reduced from Sh1.29 billion to Sh422 million," reads the report for the first quarter of the 2017-18 financial year.

"There was also reduction in travel expenditure from Sh5.28 billion to Sh3.77 billion in the reporting period."

The adjusted budget for county assemblies is contained in the County Allocation Revenue Bill, 2018 which was tabled in the Senate yesterday.

It also has Sh3.7 billion in conditional grants from donors.

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