Office of Controller of Budget calls for prudence in county expenditure

County governments have been advised to strictly adhere to the laid out laws while implementing their expenditures to avoid wastage.

Controller of Budget Mrs. Agnes Odhiambo has cited low absorption of funds and excessive spending on non essential foreign trips as a key challenge in county expenditures.

In a report which was read yesterday on her behalf by her Deputy Stephen Masha, Mrs. Odhiambo further cited low revenue collections by counties, high expenditure on personnel emolument as well as a lack of effective monitoring and evaluation frameworks for projects as another problem.

Masha was speaking during a public sensitisation workshop on budget implementation held at the Gelian Hotel that brought participants from Nairobi, Machakos, Kitui, Makueni, Kajiado and Nairobi counties.

Our report highlights some key issues such as low absorption of development funds by government entities as well as the excessive funds that spending entities have allocated to recurrent expenditure especially on local and foreign travel at the expense of development projects ,read part of her speech.

Mrs. Odhiambo is now recommending for strict adherence to the laid down principals of public finance management as stipulated in Public Finance Management Act of 2012.

She is also advising counties to ensure they continue utilizing the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to facilitate appropriate monitoring of public expenditure.

Counties are said to have blown up close to sh 5.3 billion for both domestic and foreign trips between July and December last year, according a report by the Controller of Budget.

According to the account which covers the first half of the 2016/2017 fiscal year, Machakos county expenditure on both domestic and foreign travel amounted to sh 266.85 million by both the executive and the County Assembly.

The amount translated to a 79.6 percent increase compared to sh 148.62 million spent in the first half of 2015/2016 financial year.

Mrs. Odhiambo is now calling upon county governments to actively involve the public in discussion forums as required by law to ensure there is agreement on how monies are spent and curb wastages.

The public should actively participate in budget formulation by identifying priorities, the locations and timing of projects and to ensure equitable distribution of resources. Section 39(8) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 is to ensure that the public has access to information and participates in a democratic manner in the preparation and execution of budgets, she has urged.

The two day workshop is expected to come to a close today.

Source: Kenya News Agency