Counties spent an average of Sh30 million daily in domestic and foreign travel, a report by the Controller of Budget has shown.
In total, the 47 counties (both Assembly and the Executive) spent a total of Sh2.78 billion in the three months of July, August and September 2016.
“The county governments spent Sh2.78 billion on domestic and foreign travel against an approved budget of Sh12.14 billion. This represented 22.9 per cent of the budget allocation, an increase of 20.1 per cent in a similar period in 2015/16 when Sh1.95 billion was spent,” said the Controller of Budget.
Of the total Sh12.14 billion the counties budgeted for travel in the year, Nairobi County had, by the end of 91 days, spent Sh135.14 million, followed by Machakos and Bungoma at Sh113.58 million and Sh103.80 million respectively.
Mombasa County had the least expenditure at Sh2.01 million, Garissa Sh11.30 million and Laikipia at Sh17.45 million.
Though the Controller of Budget in the report does not fault the expenditure because it was budgeted for and was within set limits, it is the staggering figures that have disturbed those who had touted devolution as a service-delivery venture and not a money-minting and get-rich-quick schemes.
“There is a lot of impunity in the counties now. Some MCAs are just wasting money in useless trips they now call benchmarking and bonding,” Opposition leader Raila Odinga said during the burial of Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua recently.
In the executives’ side, Bungoma had the largest single expenditure at Sh102.80 million, Nakuru Sh91.45 million, Siaya 85.47 million, Nandi 77.51 million, West Pokot Sh69.18 million, Nyamira Sh68.35 million, Marsabit Sh65.24 million, Turkana 63.85 million, and Nairobi at Sh61.2 million.
Nairobi County Assembly spent the highest amount in travel in the three months reviewed at Sh73.87 million, Machakos Sh57.48 million, Kakamega Sh46.29 million, Nyamira Sh43.99 million, Vihiga Sh42.99 million, Kiambu Sh42.46 million, Homa Bay Sh38.09 million and Taita Taveta Sh38.01 million.
Nakuru County led the pack in an analysis of the expenditure as a proportion of the annual budgetary allocation at 80.2 per cent.
The county was followed by Trans Nzoia and Tana River at 57.4 and 47.5 per cent respectively.
Others in the list of heavy spenders as compared to their budget are Homa Bay 43.8 per cent, Murang’a, Siaya, Laikipia, Bungoma, Nyandarua, Kakamega and Nandi at 42.9, 40.7, 38.8, 37, 36.5, 36.3, and 36.2 per cent respectively.
In the list of total assembly and county executives’ expenditure, Baringo County spent Sh23.11 million, Bomet Sh58.42 million, Busia Sh37.20 million, Elgeyo Marakwet Sh23.09 million, Embu Sh44.53 million, Garissa Sh11.30 million, Homa Bay Sh71.99 million, Isiolo Sh31.24 million, Kajiado Sh57.43 million, Kericho Sh68.87 million, Kakamega Sh65.34 million, Kiambu Sh88.86 million, Kilifi Sh61.93 million, Kirinyaga Sh35.32 million.