Counties have missed the opportunity to create real incomes at the grassroots after sharply scaling down spending on development projects in the financial that ends today.
A report released by the Controller of Budget (CoB) shows that the 47 county governments had by end of March spent only Sh49.78 billion or 39.9 percent of the Sh198.85 billion allocated as development expenditure for the full year.
With outbreak of Covid-19 slowing government activities across the country, not much expenditure is expected in the last quarter of the financial year that ends Tuesday.
By comparison, however, Sh191.82 billion or 63.9 percent of the Sh300 billion allocated for 2019/20 recurrent expenditure was used up.
Unlike recurrent which mainly covers administrative costs, expenditure on development projects like roads, fresh produce markets, bridges and schools enable scounty residents to improve their earnings and livelihood.
Overall, the counties spent Sh241.6 billion in the first nine months of the fiscal year, representing an absorption rate of 49.3 percent of the total annual county government’s budgets.
Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, 2012 provides that over the medium term, a minimum of 30 percent of the County Governments budget shall be spent on development expenditure.
“The office of COB recommends that counties should prioritise implementation of development projects in order to improve their citizen’s standards of living,” CoB Dr Margaret Nyakangó said.
The counties spent aggregate of Sh191.82 billion or 79.4 percent of the total expenditure on recurrent activities.
This comprised Sh126.28 billion (65.8 per cent) on personal emoluments among them salaries and allowances.
About Sh65.44 billion (34.2 percent) was spent on operations and maintenance expenditure including domestic and foreign travel, hospitality, fuel.
The report marked Nairobi City as the high most spending county at Sh15.51 billion, followed by Kiambu at Sh9.88 billion and Kakamega at Sh8.29 billion.
The lowest total expenditure was recorded by Samburu, Isiolo and Elgeyo Marakwet at Sh2.62 billion, Sh2.72 billion and Sh2.77 billion respectively.