Vihiga County achievements during its first CIDP 2013-2017?
After reading the summary of Vihiga County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) for Financial Year 2018-2022 (the second CIDP 2018-2022) in the Daily Nation newspaper of 7 November, 2018, I felt like this county is planning to spend money on items which would have been dispensed during the first five years. Think about building the county headquarters, constructing the residences for the governor, deputy governor and the Speaker of the County Assembly.
In its first year under devolution, Vihiga County spent just 32% of her development budget but as you may guess spent 100% of the recurrent budget. This is a familiar picture in many counties across the country.
In the second CIDP, under public sector reforms the county reports that it will embark on the construction of county headquarters, sub-county and ward offices. This conjures in my mind a county without a proper headquarter despite having spent six years under devolution. Diving into the reports from the Office of the Controller of budget I discovered that during the first year under devolution, Vihiga County had spent Ksh. 40 million on the Construction of Country Headquarters. Maybe the new government wants to do more in making the county headquarters count.
Under the education sector in financial year 2013/2014, Vihiga County spent Ksh. 30 million on bursaries. This is a popular expenditure item in all the 47 counties in Kenya. A bursary creates rapport between the elected leaders and their electorate. It is a forbidden fruit for counties which seems to becoming sweeter every financial year. This is because the forth schedule of the supreme law of the land (Constitution of Kenya 2010) clearly provides that primary, secondary and tertiary education is a national government function. That notwithstanding, counties are addicted to spending on education components which takes away substantial resources which would have better been used to provide Early Childhood Development (ECDE) and village polytechnics for the people of Vihiga. It’s a high time that we think of devolving these highly addictive expenditure items.
Further, the Office of the Controller of Budget reported that the county spent money on foreign travel yet it was not in the budget approved by the county assembly in 2013/2014. This means that the county might have been confused at the beginning because they did not know that foreign trips to foreign lands was allowed. This is a decision the Members of the county Assembly might have regretted at that time. They later compensated for this opportunity lost by making sure that foreign and domestic travels leads in expenditure. For instance in FY 2015/2016, Vihiga County spent Ksh. 217.32 million up from Ksh. 84.53 spent during the previous year 2014/2015. This was a 157.1% increase in expenditure on this item. It was expenditure with vengeance!
In 2016/2017 the County Budget and Economic Forum was established in Vihiga County. This is an important body which is responsible for presiding over public budget deliberations at the county level.
|VIHIGA COUNTY EQUITABLE SHARE AND OWN REVENUE ANALYSIS|
|Out of which:|
Table: Resources received by Vihiga County as equitable share and resources raised from own sources of revenue.
During the first five years under devolution, Vihiga County received a total of Ksh. 18.7 billion from the national government as equitable share. This are resources raised at the national level and a minimum of 15% is shared with the counties based on a formula by Commission on Revenue Allocation which considers five parameters which are: population, poverty index, development factor, fiscal responsibility and land area.
Own sources of Revenue
Vihiga County raised a total of Ksh. 617.2 million from own sources of revenue. The latter is collected from park bus fees, plan approvals, single business permits and market fees among others.
From the above table, it is clear that the total expenditure has always been lower than then total available resources. A number of factors have been enumerated by counties for lower absorption rates including delayed disbursement of equitable share and inadequate human resources among others.
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