Rotich caps MCAs spending to seven per cent of county budget

Thursday March 3 2016

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (right) and Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge before the Liaison Committee of the National Assembly at County Hall in Nairobi on March 1, 2016. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (right) and Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge before the Liaison Committee of the National Assembly at County Hall in Nairobi on March 1, 2016. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JEREMIAH KIPLANG'AT
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Members of county assemblies will only be allowed to spend at most seven per cent of funds allocated to their county every financial year.

The MCAs will also be restricted to making changes amounting to only one per cent of governors’ budgets, according to stringent regulations introduced by the Treasury to tame extravagance in the counties.

MCAs have been fighting caps to their expenditure but the Treasury has stamped its authority through the new Public Finance Management regulations.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has written to county finance executives telling them to observe the rules.

“The approved expenditures of a county assembly shall not exceed seven per cent of the total revenues of the county government or twice the personnel emoluments of that assembly, whichever is lower,” say the regulations.

Wednesday, the County Assemblies Forum criticised the new rules, saying they interfered with the independence of the assemblies guaranteed in the Constitution.

Appearing before two Senate committees — Finance and Delegation — at County Hall in Nairobi, MCAs’ representatives said it was wrong for the Treasury to create laws yet the Senate was the only institution allowed to do so.

“The Treasury CS is taking away the constitutional powers of the county assemblies,” said Mandera Speaker Abdikadir Sheikh.

The new rules are in response to an outcry in the country last year over uncontrolled expenditure by MCAs.

Senators said it was wrong to curtail the freedom of MCAs to scrutinise budgets and to limit their expenditure.

“The limit to make amendments interferes with the constitutional powers of the county assemblies. Limiting it to one per cent makes it even worse,” said Finance Committee Chairman Billow Kerrow.