Yesterday, I read an article in the Nation Daily newspaper written by Lilian Mutavi. The article was titled “Assembly, Treasury duel Scuttles budget making.” This title attracted my attention because I thought the MCA’s were protecting the Wanjiku’s interest in the County Assembly. Reading further, I found out that they were protecting their own interests.
The MCAs lead by the County Assembly Speaker Mr. Alex ole Magelo were calling for suspension of the debates on the formulation of County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) for FY 2016/2017. This was basically a protest against “erratic cash flows” to the county assembly. As a voter in Nairobi, I was expecting them to have a standoff because of erratic funding for basic services such as water supply, health services, slow pace of garbage collection, inadequate housing and provision of basic education.
We are not disputing the need for the County Assembly to demand for their rights. Initially, they requested Ksh. 250 million for gratuity and completion of County Assembly Chambers. The county treasury allocated the Ksh. 112 million but the funds were never released. Now they want to receive the money before the next elections. At the beginning of devolution and even now, we had some MCAs who did not have the capacity to interrogate the budget documents. They leave the burden to the County Executive Committee member of finance to determine what is wrong and right. If they get a fat cheque for Ward Development Fund, then that is a good budget. One county which I will not name forgot to interrogate the education budget and ended up getting insufficient funds. The funds received were inadequate to run the department for the whole financial year.
As citizens, we want to hear that there was a standoff at the Nairobi City Assembly because MCAs were demanding for explanations for the under-performance in the collection of local revenue. In FY 2015/16 the Nairobi County was targeting to raise Ksh. 17.53 billion from local sources. The Office of Controller of Budget (OCoB) reported that the county managed to raise Ksh. 2.23 billion. This is an under performance by all standards.
|Infographic: Shows how Nairobi City County implemented her budget during the 1st Quarter FY 2015/2016.|
Last month, we had a meeting with various community groups in Nairobi and raised a number of issues affecting them. The MCAs should take up this issues and discuss them in order to improve Nairobi County Fiscal Strategy Paper FY 2016/2017.
- To oversee the streamlining of the management of solid waste disposal by making the Dandora dump site more accessible. This is because efficiency is required if the county government is to effectively manage the 2,400 tonnes of waste produced every day.
- We ask you to stop using words such as “other projects.” Are there capital projects that do not have names? It is our hope that this term will not appear in the forthcoming budget estimates.
- In ANNEX III, there’s this source of internal revenues from ‘Eastlands’. It would be more prudent if you could clarification from county treasury on the meaning of this item.
- On page 53 of the draft CFSP the county treasury has indicated that 21 percent of local revenue will be generated from “other sources”. Which are these other sources? There is need for a narration to explain this phrase.
- We noted that everything seems to be a priority for Nairobi County. This can never be the case. We can appreciate if you narrow down the county priorities to a maximum of three sectors. This will make it easier for us to understand the county’s real focus.
- It has also come to our notice that the hospitals picked for rehabilitation in the health sector like the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, Shauri Moyo clinic, Jericho health center, Mutuini hospitals and Jerusalem clinic have previously appeared in the 2015/2016 and even 2014/2015 budgets. We wonder if these hospitals are being rehabilitated every financial year! Even at our homes we do not replace utensils every year. The County should focus on developing the health sector other than the continuous renovation and rehabilitation activities repeated every financial year.
- Urgently, address the issue of local revenue collection. This area is under-performing because Ksh 2.26 billion was raised against a target of Ksh. 17.5 billion by mid-year 2015. The laxity in revenue collection is becoming a trend. For instance, in FY 2014/2015, the county government was planning to raise Ksh 15 billion but ended up raising Ksh. 10 billion. The county should work towards sealing loopholes such as the use of fake receipts, tax evasion rackets and embrace technology in tax revenue collection.
- Finally, we have not seen you address the issue of ghost workers in the County government’s workforce, which has seen a lot of funds being lost. Therefore, we urge the Nairobi County Assembly to address the issue, and locate the resources lost to those ghost workers for other development projects. The last time we checked, the governor identified thousands of ghost workers in the county’s payroll. People found to be in the payroll illegally should be punished severely to discourage that practice in the future!