10 governors spend nothing on development in first quarter

The rest of the budget went to salaries and other recurrent spending against the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act that says development spending should cover at least 35% of total spending
10 governors spend nothing on development in first quarter

Ten governors did not spend a single cent on the development of their counties in the 3 months to September while 3 others used less than one percent of their budgets on growth programmes, a report by the Controller of Budget (CoB) says.

The rest of the budget went to salaries and other recurrent spending against the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act that says development spending should cover at least 35% of total spending.

The governors who failed to spend on development in the period are Johnson Sakaja of Nairobi, Wavinya Ndeti of Machakos, Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Cecily Mbarire (Embu), and Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir). Also making the list are Jonathan Lelelit (Samburu), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot), Jeremiah Lomorukai (Turkana) and Erick Mutai of Kericho.

The CoB, in her report on counties’  budget implementation during the first quarter of 2023/24 (July – September), revealed that the 9 spent all the money paying salaries and other recurrent expenditures.

During the reporting period, county governments spent KSh6.92 billion on development activities, representing an absorption rate of 3.7% of the annual development budget of KSh188.13 billion. Analysis of development expenditure as a proportion of approved annual development budget shows that eleven counties did not report expenditure on development programmes,” CoB Margaret Nyakang’o reported.

Dr Nyakang’o also reported that governors Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni), and Bungoma’s Ken Lusaka committed less than 1% of their budgets in the quarter to development.

Development initiatives

This implies that citizens of the twelve counties were starved of development initiatives through the three months as the county bosses focused on paying salaries, allowances and operational expenses.

Nairobi City County, for instance, spent all the KSh3.45 billion during the three months on recurrent expenditure alone. The spending was 73.7% of all the funds the Budget controller authorised.

Analysis of expenditure by economic classification indicates that the County Executive spent KSh2.56 billion on employee compensation and KSh452.81 million on operations and maintenance. Similarly, the County Assembly spent KSh139.82 million on employee compensation and KSh294.98 million on operations and maintenance,” says the report.

Turkana County spent KSh1.08 billion (99% of authorised funds) on recurrent activities. In Nakuru, Ms Kihika spent KSh1.71 billion on salaries, KSh1.18 billion on operations and maintenance, and KSh13.1 million (0.45%) on development.

This means that for every shilling Ms Kihika put into development, she spent KSh220 on salaries and other recurrent activities.

In Makueni, out of the KSh1.1 billion that Mr Kilonzo spent between July and September, only KSh1.3 million (0.1%) went to development. This means that for every KSh1 he put into the development, he set aside KSh845 to pay county employees and run county offices.

In Bungoma, Mr Lusaka, who is the immediate former Speaker of the Senate, spent KSh10.4 million out of KSh1.7 billion during the 3 months on development. Of the KSh904 million spent in Turkana County during the 3 months, 89.5% catered for salaries.

Kisii Governor, Simba Arati, spent KSh1.36 billion (79.6% of the entire KSh1.7 billion spending during the quarter) on personal emoluments in the first quarter of the financial year.

In total, ten counties spent at least two-thirds of their budgets for the quarter on paying workers, meaning residents will have to wait longer for various development priorities.

Overall, spending on development by all forty seven counties during the 3 months constituted 10.2% of the total budget.

The counties spent KSh67.47 billion between July and September, using only KSh6.9 billion on development while recurrent spending gobbled up the remainder.

Salaries and allowances for the forty seven counties took up KSh41.8 billion, which is 62% of the total spending.

The combined county governments’ budgets approved by the County Assemblies amounted to KSh534.63 billion and comprised KSh188.13 billion (35.2%) allocated to development expenditure and KSh346.51 billion (64.8%) for recurrent expenditure,” the CoB observed in the report.


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