DEFICIT

Little willingness to commit resources to counties

Disbursement to counties has been largely behind over the years

In Summary
  • Revenue collection has been on a decline and therefore one would expect allocations not to go as desired because there is no money.
  • Both levels of government have not been keen to cut running costs.
Abraham Rugo, Country Manager International Budget Partnership - Kenya. /COURTESY
Abraham Rugo, Country Manager International Budget Partnership - Kenya. /COURTESY

The amount of the disbursement at this point in time is not much different from the previous year, only that this time it is slightly lower. Last year we were at 41 per cent or thereabout at this point while we are at 34 per cent currently.

Disbursement to counties has largely been behind, especially when compared to payments to consolidated fund services, pension funds, constitutional offices, ministries, departments and agencies of the national government.

It is quite unfortunate and it shows that there is no willingness to commit resources to counties.

It is nonetheless worth mentioning that revenue collection has been on a decline and therefore one would expect allocations not to go as desired because there is no money.

You, therefore, cannot have the conversation of raising the allocation from the national government to counties from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. If you are to consider the national debt, you will realise that we do not have any money. Not unless you want to sink the country into a deeper debt crisis.

One of the reasons why the country does not have money is because we have quite a bit of complication between national and county governments. The process of separating and clarifying functions when allocating resources has not gone the way one would have anticipated. Because of that, it means you are not clear on the amounts that are sufficient for the various functions.

If you are clear that counties handle 30 per cent of functions, then you can easily say 30 per cent of the national revenue should go to devolved units. But we have a situation whereby some functions are handled by both levels of government.

This clearly came out when the Covid-19 pandemic was reported. There was a lot of confusion on who should be doing what and how. Without clarity of function, costing becomes a complicated matter.

However, both levels of government have not been keen to cut running costs. Revenue is declining and debt rising but recurrent expenditure is almost the same every year.

The International Budget Partnership country manager spoke to the Star