Tana River County collected the least amount of revenue from local sources in the first nine months of the 2017/2018 fiscal year compared to the other 46 counties, Controller of Budget (COB), Agnes Odhiambo has said.
In the just released County Governments Budget Implementation Review Report for the first nine months of the financial year, Mrs. Odhiambo said the county collected a paltry S6.19 million against its own target of Sh.30 million.
It was followed from the bottom by Lamu and Mandera Counties, which collected Sh.41.49 million and Sh.46.97 million respectively during the period that saw Nairobi County collecting Sh.7.64 billion followed by Mombasa and Narok, which collected Sh.1.68 billion and Sh.1.63 billion respectively.
The Tana River County chiefs have been reviewing the annual budget over the past five financial years from Sh.120 million in the 2013/2014 financial year to Sh30 million in the last financial year, but it has never been able to meet its targets.
In February this year, Governor Dhadho Godhana vowed to seal all revenue leakages with a view to enhancing tax collection by replacing all corrupt revenue officers, who he accused of playing with the people’s resources and frustrating his development agenda.
He lamented that since the onset of devolution, the county had not managed to raise the annual Sh.40 million that the defunct County Council of Tana River used to collect despite the county government having opened more revenue streams.
I would like to send a warning to all revenue officers that I may be forced to sack them and replace them with those who will help us move on with our development agenda, he said then.
The highest amount of revenue collected by the county government since devolution is Sh.33 million (2014/2015 financial year), and Governor Godhana believes that some of the monies collected go to the individual pockets of corrupt revenue officers.
At the same time, Mrs. Odhiambo said in the report that the county spent a paltry Sh.283.78 million of the Sh.2.04 billion released to the County Revenue Fund (CRF) on development expenditure with the rest going to personal emoluments (Sh.1.0 billion) and operations (Sh.819.5 million).
Expenditure on personnel emoluments represented an increase of 10.5 per cent compared to the first nine months of FY 2016/17 when the County spent Sh.908 million that was 49.3 per cent of total expenditure in the first nine months of FY 2017/18, she says.
The low exchequer releases could be attributed to the fact that the budget estimates of Sh.5.8 billion for that financial year was approved by the local County Assembly toward the end of 2017, making it impossible for the exchequer to release development funds in the first six months of the financial year.
By the end of the financial year on June 30, the Exchequer had not released disbursements for May and June, County Finance and Economic Planning Executive, Matthew Babwoya says.
Of the remaining amount, about Sh.900 million is expected to settle pending bills the current administration inherited from the previous county government.
The late disbursements may have to go through another supplementary budget process as the last one lapsed with the end of the financial year.
Source: Kenya News Agency