On Sunday 26th April, 2015 I was at the headquarters of Machakos County- Machakos town. We ended the day watching two important soccer games with the Chelsea Vs Arsenal game ending in a draw . Later on Everton overpowered Manchester United scoring 3-0. I vividly remember the ManU fans were real depressed. This was the mood of the day when our team of budget analysts arrived in Machakos to scrutinize the county’s budget books for the benefits of all Macha citizens.
Our main goal of visiting Machakos was to find out more about the various developments that have been undertaken by the County CEO and his team of executives.
Supplementary Budget for 2014/2015
A supplementary budget is used by county and national assemblies to reallocate resources from slow performing programmes to the high priority ones.
|Members of County Assembly on Session discussing the Supplementary Budget 2014/2015|
In 2014/2015 financial year, the Machakos County Assembly had approved a budget which amounted to Kshs. 8.9 billion out of which Kshs. 4.9 billion was set aside for recurrent expenditure whereas Kshs 3.98 Billion was allocated towards development expenditure. These are 55% and 45% of the total budget respectively.
The County Government had planned to spend 28.3% of the total budget (Kshs 2.5 billion) on paying wages and salaries. On the other hand, shs. 2.4 billion was allocated towards operations and maintenance.
During the supplementary period, the county took a bold step of freezing all unnecessary recurrent expenditures such as foreign travels.
Priority Programmes for Machakos
Water and Sanitation
Machakos County takes water issues with a lot of seriousness. This has been even recognized by the president of the republic of Kenya. When he visited the county, he pledged to support their comprehensive water mapping programme with Kshs. 1.5 billion. The county is expecting to receive the first tranche of Shs. 500 million in 2014/2015.
In the supplementary budget, Water and Sanitation received the largest boost (Kshs. 300 million). These funds will be used to drill 70 boreholes per month before the end of the 2014/2015 financial year. This means that Machakos County has two months to drill at least 140 boreholes for her residents. This work will be performed by the eight drilling rigs that the county already owns.
When we talked with the residents of Muthetheni Ward in Mwala constituency, they recommended the county government’s efforts of promoting the progressive realization of the right to cleaning drinking water. The only issue is that the government has to reconsider the management of these boreholes. Otherwise, if management is not handed over to the locals, they will just become white elephants.
Research, Feasibility Studies, Project Design and Supervision
In the supplementary budget, Research budget budget was slashed by Kshs. 10 million. This left just Shs. 4 million for that programme. Another casualty was the Kshs. 30 million which was budgeted for the purchase of Revenue Collection Motor Vehicles was also moved elsewhere. All the money in the Budgeted Reserve (Kshs. 20 million) was moved to other programmes.
Machahood was not left behind. This project received Kshs. 30 million for construction of buildings and an additional Kshs. 57.5 million will be spent on purchasing musical instruments for the MACHAWOOD studios. these studios will be equipped with office furniture in the next two months (Kshs. 10.3 million) out of which Kshs. 5.3 million will be spent on purchasing IT equipment for Machawood and Kshs. 5 million for other equipment. It seems soon we will have an equivalent of Nollywood and Hollywood in Kenya.
Machakos is heading in the right direction if they seriously pursue their goal of establishing the cinema industry in Kenya. Inspirations are just in the neighborhood. For instance, Nigeria’s Nollywood is the second largest film producer in the world. It is only second to India. Over the last two decades, the cinema industry has grown tremendously. To give you a picture of the potential of the film industry, Nollywood generated USD$10 billion for Nigeria in 2013. This is a high potential revenue generating industry.
For Machakos County we say go! go! go!. It should never be done halfheartedly or be used as an avenue to embezzle funds. I advise the governor to leave a legacy on this one.
Over 30 years ago every state in Nigeria had its own TV broadcasting station. With devolution this is the direction that we are taking. With the expected growth of home videos and film industry, county governments will be able to not only generate more local income but also create plenty of employment. The industry requires millions of employees to work on film production. (drivers, designers, video editors, actors, film directors, distributors, suppliers of both technology and equipment). To make this a great success, the national government should ban the airing of foreign content in Kenya. This should be done at the policy level.
The Emergency Fund (Kshs. 50 million) and refurbishment of buidings in Tourism and Culture (Kshs. 5 million).