Nairobi News

General

We must reduce recurrent budget for growth

It is certainly no easy task trying to fit in the needs of 3.5 million city residents into a Sh28 billion budget.

One is bound to have several hits and misses in such a delicate exercise. However, the critical point must always be that the budget planners stick to their expenditure blueprint.

A glance at the county budget reveals that internally generated revenues will climb from Sh11 billion to Sh17 billion (about Sh1.4 billion per month).

Only time will tell if this is feasible or overly optimistic. The downside to this is that in the event of underperformance, the first casualty will be the development budget.

The development budget- which is what determines the success of a government- barely scrapes past the 30 per cent of revenues as demanded by the Public Finance Management Act.

While this is a precedent set by the national government, it’s a habit that the county must work hard to break away from.

Nairobi has massive infrastructural shortages and all efforts must be geared towards reducing the recurrent budget.

It is also disappointing that the county chose to invest so little in education, despite its own survey detailing the huge resource gaps.

The county hopes to recover Sh67 billion it is owed to settle about Sh1.9 billion it owes its workers. One hopes the workers will not resort to strikes to push their case as this will paralyse county operations.

On a positive note, allocations to hospitals are a welcome shot in the arm for a city seriously in want of quality healthcare.

Provision of 40 new garbage trucks will go some way in addressing the vexing issues of garbage collection.

Three new fire trucks will also be added to the department to boost the county’s fire fighting capacity, an area hitherto neglected by successive administrations.

Kudos must also be given to MCAs for pushing through the Ward Development Fund which if well utilised, could transform the lives of Nairobians for the better.

The county government does admit that its needs are too huge to be funded by the taxpayer meaning it must source for public private partnerships to fund capital-intensive projects like the BRT and urban renewal.

 

One hopes that authorities at City Hall will maintain fiscal discipline in the collection and utilisation of revenues to run the County.

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