• The Salaries and Remuneration Commission recommended a monthly ceiling of Sh124,800 for MCAs allowances
Allowances paid to MCAs have risen beyond the limit recommended by the Salaries and Remunerations Commission, a report by the Controller of Budget says.
The report, covering expenditures by counties in the period of July last year to March show that the MCAs have earned Sh1.62 billion compared to Sh1.55 billion over the same period in the previous financial year 2018-19.
The report singles out Homa Bay and Tana River county assemblies for having reported the highest average monthly expenditure on sitting allowances to the ward representatives.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission recommended a monthly ceiling of Sh124,800 for MCAs' allowances.
The report shows counties are still spending lesser money on development needs with recurrent expenditure consuming the lion’s share of the resources.
The counties had spent Sh191.82 billion on recurrent expenditure with on Sh49.78 billion on development in the period between July last year and March.
The huge expenditure on salaries and allowances suggest a bloated wage bill and the existence of ghost workers in the counties.
There was, however, a decline in the percentage of recurrent expenditure to recurrent budget from 64.5 per cent recorded in the first nine months of the 2018-19 financial year to 63.9 per cent in the current year.
“A review of cumulative expenditure by economic classification showed that Sh126.28 billion (52.3 per cent) was spent on personnel emoluments, Sh65.34 billion (27.1 per cent) on operations and maintenance, and Sh49.78 billion (20.6 per cent) on development expenditure,” the report says.
Counties are increasingly finding it difficult to raise revenue from own sources which include collecting taxes and levies at the local level, the report says.
For example, the report shows that while the counties' budget showed they targeted to raise Sh57.82 billion to supplement the funds from the national government and development partners, they had only raised Sh28.04 billion for the nine months, translating to 48.5 per cent of their targets.
This was, however, a slight decrease compared to Sh28.92 billion the counties generated in a similar period the previous year.
For individual counties, Tana River, Samburu, and Uasin Gishu were the best performers, having achieved the highest proportions of own revenue targets at 96.1 per cent, 76.8 per cent, and 73.4 per cent respectively.
Conversely, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado and Nandi were the least performing having generated 30.2 per cent, 29.6 per cent, and 27.9 per cent respectively.
The Controller of Budget had already authorised withdrawals of Sh252.10 billion in the first nine months of the financial year under review, with county governments spending Sh241.6 billion.
The budget implementation during the reporting period shows a slight improvement in the absorption of development budget from 24.4 per cent in a similar period the previous financial year to 25 per cent.
Murang’a, Tana River, and Marsabit were leading in absorption of the allocations for development budget at 60.2 per cent, 45.6 per cent, and 43.5 per cent respectively.
Nairobi, Samburu and Nyandarua had the lowest absorption of development budget at 11.1 per cent, six per cent, and 4.1 per cent respectively.
High expenditure on salaries, under-performance of own source revenue collection and low expenditure on the development budget, were among the challenges the Controller of Budget identified in the counties.
Edited by P.O