- If approved, any member of staff will be allowed to incur an expenditure but through the authority of the clerk who approves it in writing.
- To withdraw the funds, however, the clerk will be required to obtain written approval from the Controller of budget.
County assembly clerks have been handed a higher responsibility in a new bill that seeks to grant the hard-fought financial autonomy to the arm.
In the bill which comes as a big relief to the MCAs, the clerk has been named as the sole administrator of the funds.
It is being introduced by Senate Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi and seeks to establish a county assembly fund under the Public Finance Management Act in each county.
“The administrator shall arrange for the county assembly fund to be kept in the Central Bank in an account to be known as County Assembly Fund Account,” the bill reads in part.
They will be tasked with ensuring that earnings and accruals of the fund shall be retained and spent for intended purposes.
The County Public Finance Laws (amendment) bill, 2023 seeks to amend section 109 of the PFM Act, 2012 to allow for the creation of the Fund in which any grants, gifts, donations, bequests, allocation in fees, investments, or levies or any other money accruing to or received from any source shall be paid into.
To withdraw the funds, however, the clerk will be required to obtain written approval from the Controller of the budget through the authority of the county assembly that appropriates money for a particular purpose.
“The approval of the controller of budget to withdraw the money together with written instructions from the administrator of the fund is sufficient authority for the approved bank where that county assembly service fund account is held in accordance with the approval and the instructions,” it adds.
The funds, the bill states, are to be used for administrative expenses, and acquisition and maintenance of buildings, grounds and other assets belonging to the assembly.
If approved, any member of staff will also be allowed to incur an expenditure but through the express authority of the clerk who approves it in writing.
“The authority shall be accompanied by guidelines on its usage,” Section 109D of the Act to be amended reads.
National Treasury will at the beginning of the every month and not later than the 15th day from the commencement of the month be obligated to release the funds to the assembly account.
In his bill, the Meru Senator says the assembly ought to be independent in the discharge of their functions.
He argued that the reliance on the county executive for finances occasions delays and other conflicts between the two arms of government.
As it is currently, the county assemblies submit their requisitions for funds to the Controller of Budget and thereafter rely on the county treasury to disburse funds to them.
“In this regard, the financial autonomy of county assemblies is lacking as they rely on the whims and caprices of their respective county executives and as such cannot be said to be independent,” he said.