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Isiolo County wage bill rises as development spending drops

Monday March 16 2020
Kuti

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti. The Controller of Budget has flagged his administration for poor spending on development. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WAWERU WAIRIMU

The Controller of Budget has flagged Isiolo for being one of the counties with poor spending on development besides having a rising wage bill which denies residents crucial services.

A budget implementation review report for the 2018/2019 financial year shows that Isiolo only used 53.7 per cent of its Sh1.86 billion development budget down from 72.4 percent in previous fiscal year.

Governor Mohamed Kuti’s administration also failed to process all payments through the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis) and the internet banking platform as directed by the National Treasury in what is suspected to be a technique to conceal possible corruption.

SALARIES

The report further indicates that the county, during the period, used over a third of its total expenditure (Sh1.59 billion) on payment of salaries, an increase of 8.1 per cent from Sh1.47 billion spent in 2017/2018. The wage bill translated to 37.2 per cent of the total expenditure.

The county also failed to provide details on pending bills for 2017/2018, violating the Controller of Budget Act, 2016.

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The inadequate budgetary control resulted to expenditure above the approved budget by, among others, the department of Administration and County Public Service Board, contravening Section 135 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.

The Controller of Budget cited Special Programmes, information and communications technology (ICT), the county assembly and the office of the governor as being among departments with the highest expenditure, totalling Sh1.1 billion.

PRESSING NEEDS

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo lamented over the decline in absorption of the development budget, terming the situation as unfortunate in light of pressing needs of the county’s residents vis-à-vis the availability of funds.

She said the county treasury must ensure that expenditure is within the approved budget and that the county works towards reducing the wage bill to a more sustainable one.

However, Ms Dullo lauded the county for increased own-source revenue collection amounting to Sh161.77 million in 2018/2019 from Sh114.56 million the previous year and for establishing and operationalising an audit committee and internal audit department in line with the Public Finance Management Act, 2012.

“I commend efforts by the county in reducing the total expenditure on domestic travel by five per cent from Sh180.32 million in 2017/2018 to Sh171.97 million in the subsequent year,” she said in a press release.

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