Monday, April 15, 2024
spot_img
HomeUncategorizedWestern counties have over Sh6 billion in pending bills, says Controller of...

Western counties have over Sh6 billion in pending bills, says Controller of Budget

The Controller of Budget (CoB) has exposed four counties with ‘high level of pending bills’ in the Western region.

According to the CoB, the affected counties are still using the manual payroll, which is prone to abuse.

Dr Margaret Nyakang’o, in her audit report, also revealed that the devolved units recorded a low absorption rate on development expenditure but spent up to over 90 percent of the budget under the recurrent expenditure.

The Audit Report also revealed how governors from the four counties of Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia blew billions of shillings in non-priority expenditure on sitting allowances, unnecessary and extensive domestic and foreign travel, beautification and public participation.

In Bungoma, pending bills amounting to Sh86.45 million had been settled, while Busia managed to clear Sh 41.98 million in pending bills.  Kakamega and Vihiga Counties had settled Sh136.31 million and Sh345.32 million in pending bills, respectively.

The report dubbed ‘County Governments’ Budget Implementation Review Report for the First Half of Financial Year (FY) 2023/24, covering July 1 to December 31, 2023, further revealed that the counties missed set targets on their source revenue collections.

According to the report, as of December 31, 2023, Bungoma had pending bills of Sh1.12billion, Busia Sh2.29 billion, Kakamega Sh1.47 billion, and Vihiga had accumulated Sh1.2billion in pending bills amounting to Sh6.08 billion.

In Bungoma, pending bills amounting to Sh86.45 million had been settled, while Busia managed to clear Sh 41.98 million in pending bills.  Kakamega and Vihiga Counties had settled Sh136.31 million and Sh345.32 million in pending bills, respectively.

“The County government of Kakamega operated 17 accounts with commercial banks, excluding revenue collection accounts. This is contrary to Regulations 82(1)(b) of the PFM (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, which required that County government bank accounts must be opened and maintained at the Central Bank of Kenya,” the report further reads.

During the period under review, Vihiga spent a paltry Sh397.60 million on development projects and Sh1.37 billion on employee salaries and wages.

“In Vihiga, the expenditure on employee compensation was Sh1.37 billion, or 58.7 percent of the available revenue, which amounted to Sh2.33 billion. This expenditure represented an increase from Sh1.18 billion reported in a similar period in FY 2022/23. The wage bill included Sh 529 million paid to health sector employees, translating to 39 percent of the total wage bill,” states the audit report.

The report indicated that Vihiga processed a total of Sh34.9 million through manual payrolls. “The County Assembly spent Sh17.5 million on committee sitting allowances for the 36 MCAs. The average monthly sitting allowance was Sh79,194 per MCA,” the report disclosed.

The CoB, in her report, noted an expenditure of two officials from the executive who gobbled up Sh2.055 million for a day to attend the registration accreditation of county delegation for participation in the Africa climate summit in New York, in the United States.

In Kakamega, the county spent Sh873.55 million on development and Sh3.63 billion on recurrent expenditure.

“Expenditure on development programmes represented an absorption rate of 13.8 per cent, while recurrent expenditure represented 31.9 per cent of the annual recurrent expenditure budget,” states the audit report.

“The County government of Kakamega operated 17 accounts with commercial banks, excluding revenue collection accounts. This is contrary to Regulations 82(1)(b) of the PFM (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, which required that County government bank accounts must be opened and maintained at the Central Bank of Kenya,” the report further reads.

The Controller of Budget noted that the county only collected a total of Sh301.67 million in own-source revenue against an annual projection of Sh2.20 billion, which represents 13.7 percent of the annual target.

Kakamega paid for ‘Personnel emoluments’ amounting to Sh121.22 million through the manual payroll, accounting for 3.8 per cent of the total payroll cost, which the CoB says ‘the manual payroll is prone to abuse and may lead to the loss of public funds’ where there is a lack of proper controls.

The CoB also flagged five unnecessary trips to the United States and Serbia between August and October 2023 by one officer of the executive which she noted in her audit report that ‘purpose of travel was not provided’ which cumulatively gobbled up Sh6.08million.

The County Assembly of Kakamega spent Sh31.23 million on committee sitting allowances for the 88 MCAs and the Speaker, with each MCA averagely receiving a monthly sitting allowance of Sh 59,155.

In Bungoma, a total of Sh 324.73 million was spent on development projects and Sh3.64 billion on recurrent expenditure, respectively, with expenditure on development programmes representing an absorption rate of 5.8 per cent, while recurrent expenditure represented 37.1 per cent of the annual recurrent expenditure budget.

The County Assembly of Bungoma spent Sh19.61 million on committee sitting allowances for the 62 MCAs and the Speaker. The average monthly sitting allowance was Sh 51,880 per MCA.

“During the period, expenditure on domestic travel amounted to Sh 247.66 million and comprised Sh 26.66 million spent by the County Assembly and Sh221.0 million by the County Executive. Expenditure on foreign travel amounted to Sh6.07 million and comprised Sh1.26 million by the County Assembly and Sh4.81 million by the County Executive,” the CoB report revealed.

The report also revealed that ‘five county officials’ gobbled up Sh4.807 million as facilitation for a ‘high-level meeting’ in Israel in September last year.

The county also missed own-source revenue collection targets in which only Sh130.39 million was collected against an annual projection of Sh868.20 million, representing 15.0 percent of the annual target.

The county used manual payroll to process ‘Personnel emoluments’ of staff amounting tovSh75.2 million, which accounts for 3.0 percent of the total payroll cost.

In Busia, the county spent Sh298.49 million on development and Sh2.93 billion on recurrent expenditure.

The county used manual payroll to process ‘Personnel emoluments’ of staff amounting to Sh101.41 million, accounting for 3.0 percent of the total payroll cost.

The CoB noted that the county government operated a total of 21 accounts with commercial banks instead of having the same domiciled at the Central Bank of Kenya.

The county also collected a paltry Sh133.16million in own-source revenue at Sh 133.16 million against an annual projection of Sh 549.02 million, representing 24.3 per cent of the annual target and processed staff’s personnel emoluments amounting to Sh101.41 million using the manual payroll.

The county executive and county assembly spent Sh12.802 million on foreign trips to the United States, Dubai, South Africa, China, and the United Kingdom. The executive also spent Sh 91,95 million, and Sh59.91 million on domestic travel.

The County Assembly of Busia spent Sh19.49 million on committee sitting allowances for the 54 MCAs and the Speaker in which each MCA received an average monthly sitting allowance of Sh 60,155.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Rodgers Wakhisi on Buriani Walibora