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Sonko’s City Hall spent zero shillings in development in three months, Controller of Budget

City Hall did not spend even a single shilling on development for three months between July and September last year, a Controller of Budget (CoB) report has revealed.

This is despite the county government having budgeted for Sh6.4 billion as development expenditure out of the total Sh31.4 billion annual budget for the financial year ending June 30, 2021.

Worryingly, the report – County Governments Budget Implementation Review report for the first quarter for the financial year 2020/21 – indicated that the county government spent another Sh70.7 million in only three months in operations and maintenance out of an annual budget of Sh10.1 million.

Further, City Hall spent Sh1.31 billion during the period under review even though the Exchequer released only Sh1.25 billion from the County Revenue Fund (CRF) account for the period under review.

“Analysis of expenditure by department shows that the department of liquour licensing board had the highest percentage of recurrent budget at 30.8 percent while the ward development programmes and emergency fund did not report any expenditure,” read in part the report.

According to the report, Liquor Licensing Board spent Sh61.7 million in the three months in recurrent expenditure though the Exchequer did not release any funds for the same. The board always spends at source.

On the other hand, emergency fund and ward development programmes did not spend anything on recurrent expenditure even though they have an annual budget of Sh100 million and Sh30 million respectively.

From the expenditure, the office of governor and deputy governor accounted for Sh449.7 million, health department Sh300.7 million, County Assembly Sh120.7 million and Education sector Sh115.4 million taking the biggest chunk of the funds.

Granted, the county government raised only Sh1.54 billion as own-source revenue representing a slight increase of Sh1.17 million compared to amount realised during the same period in the previous financial year.

Interestingly, the county government targets to raise Sh14.4 billion own-source revenue in the current financial year.

During the same period, City Hall spent Sh1.31 billion on recurrent programmes representing 104.9 percent of the total funds released from the CRF account.

Out of this, Sh1.24 billion was spent on compensation to employees and Sh70.7 million on operations and maintenance with hospitality taking Sh20.3 million, information supplies and services Sh16.8 million, domestic travel Sh16.4 million and Sh9.7 million for fuel oil and lubricants.

The report indicated that during the period under focus, City Hall had Sh1.76 billion for budget implementation with Sh1.25 billion from the Exchequer, Sh155.6 million balance from the financial year ended June 30, 2020; Sh166.7 million in loans and grants from development partners and Sh132 million for leasing of medical equipment.

Others included Sh475 million as road maintenance fuel levy fund and Sh16 million for rehabilitation of village polytechnics, Sh79.4 million as compensation for user fee foregone and Sh61.7 million as appropriation-in-aid (A-I-A).

“The county should devise and implement strategies to mobilise own source revenue to ensure the approved is fully financed. Delay in approval of budget the county was running on Vote on Account during the reporting period which affected implementation of development programmes programme,” stated the report.

Wrangles between former Goveror Mike Sonko and MCAs delayed passage of the county’s budget with the stalemate only being broken in December after acting Governor Benson Mutura signed warrants paving the way for the implementation of the county’s Sh37.5 billion.