Mandera Senator Mahamud Maalim has lauded county governments for their good performance in managing and use of public finances.
Mr Maalim, who is also the Senate Finance and Budget Committee chairman, was speaking in Mandera after making his maiden speech at the county assembly Wednesday evening where he called on MCAs across the country to seriously play their roles of legislation, oversight and representation of people at the grassroots.
He said many county governments have performed fairly well despite the financial challenges posed by poor local revenue collections.
He observed that there have been many challenges since 2013 when devolution started and warned governors against mismanagement of public funds.
“There are a lot of challenges but that should not be an excuse for anybody not to respect the Public Finance Management Act,” he said.
He said many counties have been using the excuse of delayed funding from the National Treasury to deny locals services while the auditor-general’s reports have always shown poor local revenue collection.
“Counties are lagging behind because they fail to collect local revenue to fund their activities (and) instead sit and wait for [money from] the treasury,” he said.
According to the senator, a delay in disbursing funds to county governments by the National Treasury is due to delayed revenue collections at the national level.
“Treasury is always telling us that there are delays in revenue collections at the national level which affects disbursement of funds to the counties and this has to be [resolved],” he said.
Mr Maalim said any changes on the parameters of sharing and distributing funds to counties will only be decided by the members of public and not the Senate.
“Any changes on how funds should be distributed or shared to the counties are at the public participation stage and any decision at that stage shall be accepted by the Senate,” he said.
He said the report from the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) will inform the Senate on the decision to be taken.
The current allocation formula is based on population, poverty levels and the size in terms of land mass.
The Mandera senator said despite noise from other quarters, the current criteria of revenue allocation and distribution has served the country well.
“I don’t think there will be a major shift from the current criteria that has served [the country] well despite noise from [some] quarters,” he said.
Several political leaders from counties with high population have been crusading for a change in cash sharing formula to the counties.