Nearly half of the Nakuru County government’s Sh13 billion budget for the 2016/2017 financial year will be used to sustain the devolved unit’s high wage bill.
Financial experts have raised the red flag, saying the region will continue to experience slow development if recommendations in the county fiscal strategy paper, which were unanimously passed by the assembly, are implemented by Governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s administration.
According to the report tabled by Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Moses Ndung’u Kamau, the county is expected to spend Sh5.2 billion to pay the salaries.
This, according to Mr Kamau, translates to 42 per cent of the total budget.
In his report, Mr Kamau, who is also the Elementaita ward rep, points out that if the proposed recruitment of 1,648 new staff is to be allowed, the expenditure on wages and benefits for public officers will increase by Sh806 million.
“This will increase the personnel emolument from Sh5.2 billion to Sh6 billion, implying that 47 per cent of the total budget will be used,” said Mr Kamau.
REVENUE COLLECTION POOR
The report further shows that local revenue collection for the first six months of the current financial year was poor.
A total of Sh3.6 billion was collected against a half year target of Sh5.9 billion, resulting in a deficit of Sh2.3 billion.
Mr Kamau said the county’s debt as at January 31 stood at Sh2.3 billion. He said the figure includes an inherited debt of Sh840 million.
The county owes suppliers and contractors over Sh1.5 billion in pending bills. The debt is expected to hit Sh1.8 billion by June 30.
In the last two years, the county has been concentrating on servicing existing debts.
The county is set to spend Sh3.9 billion on development.
The Health Department will has been allocated Sh4.1 billion. More than half of the allocation, or Sh2.6 billion, will be used to pay salaries, while Sh314 million will be used for development.
The county Treasury is the second winner in the budgetary allocation as it will receive Sh2.8 billion.