County Governments fail revenue accountability test

The County governments registered increased budgetary absorption from 73 percent in year 2015/2016 to 84% in the current financial year, but this rate was not commensurate with development.

A research analyst for International Budget Partnership (IBP) Kenya, John Kinuthia noted that the level of development that has been achieved by the counties does not reflect the increased absorption of the expenditure.

County governments have a 17percent increased absorption rate in the second quarter of the 2017 budget, said Kinuthia, while presenting the IBP 2016/17 national and county budget implementation report at a Nairobi hotel on Friday.

He noted that in an analysis they made, lack of clear structures by the county governments has been cited as the main reason why most of them could not account for the revenue they received from the national government.

Kinuthia stated that the lack of information on how counties spent their revenue made it hard for the public to follow up on how the devolved units were performing with regard to development.

The analyst observed that the information available to members of the public was not only insufficient but also too technical for Kenyans to understand.

According to the analysis, Baringo County collected 71 percent of its targeted revenue mainly from hospital service charges and game park fees, while Kirinyaga County got 77 percent of its target revenue mainly from Agricultural Food Authority Fund (AFAF).

A point to note however is that 60 percent of revenue collected by the two counties mainly came from service providing institutions, said Kinuthia, adding that proceeds collected were used to advance facilities in the same organizations.

The report further indicated that at the national level, the actual spending by ministerial sectors grew by 56 percent compared to 28 percent in 2015/2016 budget.

The State Department of Information, Communications, Technology and Innovation was the highest in terms of revenue allocation with 157 percent growth, while State Department of Petroleum received the lowest revenue from the national government, with only 14 percent growth in its allocation, said Kinuthia.

The IBP’s County Director, Dr. Jason Lakin urged both the national and county governments to provide timely and easy-to-understand non-financial reports for the benefit of the public.

Dr. Lakin also called on the National government to formulate clear policies which would guide the use of revenue allocated to the County governments if they were to achieve adequate development.

Present during the event were representatives from the Council of governors, National Treasury, State Department of Petroleum, Non-Governmental Organizations and stakeholders involved in development at the grassroots level.

IBP collaborates with civil society around the world to analyze and influence public budgets in order to reduce poverty and improve the quality of governance.

Source: Kenya News Agency