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Four western counties on spot for high MCA allowances

Four counties are on the spot for paying MCAs high sitting allowances in the first quarter of the 2016/17 Financial Fear surpassing Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) recommendations.

Controller of Budget (CoB) Agnes Odhiambo in her report singled out Trans-Nzoia, Homa Bay, Busia and Siaya Counties as those that have paid ward representatives high allowances past the ceiling of Sh124,800 monthly sitting allowance.

An MCA in Trans-Nzoia, for instance, was paid Sh171,400 while in Homa Bay, they received Sh159,117. In Busia MCAs were paid Sh135,899 and in Siaya, Sh129,437.

Among the lowest earners on sitting allowances were MCAs from Vihiga (Sh24,798), Mandera (27,557), Kajiado (43,560), Isiolo (Sh45,675) and Nairobi (Sh64,408).

Ms Odhiambo said County Assemblies spent Sh638 million on ward representatives’ sitting allowances against an approved budget of Sh3.34 billion. The amount represents an increase to 19.1 per cent from the 17.4 per cent in the first quarter of the 2016/17.

County governments spent Sh2.78 billion on domestic and foreign travel in the first quarter of the 2016/17.

TRIPS

The expenditure represents a 22.9 per cent of the total budget allocation which is an increase from the 20.1 per cent attained in a similar period for the 2015/16 Financial Year where a total of Sh1.95 billion was spent.

In the report, Nairobi County had the highest expenditure on travels at Sh135 million followed by Machakos and Bungoma counties at Sh113 million and Sh103 million respectively.

Ms Odhiambo said Laikipia, Garissa and Mombasa at Sh17.45 million, Sh11 million and Sh2 million respectively were the lowest spenders.

In the past years, counties have been asked to comply with austerity measures on such trips with the CoB cautioning that prudent management of public resources is key to development of the devolved units.

The report further states that counties spent Sh29.6 billion on personal emoluments, representing 69.5 per cent of the total recurrent expenditure and 52.3 per cent of total expenditure.

WAGES AND BENEFITS

Nairobi led in this category at Sh3.2 billion followed by Kakamega and Machakos at Sh1.29 billion and Sh1.13 billion respectively.

The lowest spenders were Kajiado, Mandera, and Lamu at Sh316.53 million, Sh295.17 million and Sh204.79 million respectively.

She recommended that Counties should ensure that expenditure on personnel emoluments is contained at sustainable levels and in compliance with Regulation 25 (1) (b) of the Public Finance Management (County Governments) Regulations, 2015, which sets the ceilings on the County Government’s expenditure on wages and benefits at 35 per cent of the County’s total revenue.

A total of Sh13.0 billion was spent on operations and maintenance expenditure during the reporting period, which translated to 23.0 per cent of the total expenditure.

Counties that reported the highest expenditure on operations and maintenance were Kilifi at Sh725.37 million, Kiambu at Sh671.55 million and Mandera at Sh597.43 million.

Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Isiolo reported the least expenditure at Sh57.27 million, Sh55 million and Sh53.67 million respectively.

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