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Heavy security as MCAs debate governor’s memo rejecting budget

Tuesday July 19 2016
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Members of the Meru County Assembly (MCAs) on July 19, 2016 during a session to discuss a memorandum by governor Peter Munya rejecting the 2016/17 Budget. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID MUCHUI

Anti-riot police were on Tuesday deployed to the Meru county assembly ahead of a debate on governor Peter Munya's memorandum rejecting the Sh8.3 billion 2016/2017 budget.

There were reports of a plot by a section of members of public to cause chaos within the precincts of County Assembly.

The public gallery was filled mostly by youths interested in the outcome of the budget debate.

Several other youths were locked out of the County Assembly as anti-riot police armed with teargas canisters patrolled the compound.

The session which was to start at 2.30pm was delayed for more than one hour in unclear circumstances.

Mr Munya rejected the Meru county Appropriation Bill 2016 citing significant reduction of development allocation by Members of the County Assembly.

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In a memorandum read by Speaker Joseph Kaberia last week, Mr Munya said the Assembly slashed the development expenditure from 33 per cent to 31 per cent.

"The spirit of the law is to ensure progressive increase in development expenditure rather than decrease it. I therefore insist that we revert back to the overall development expenditure to 33pc," the memorandum reads.

He also accused the Assembly of exceeding its budget ceiling by Sh55 million against the County Allocation of Revenue Act, 2015 ceiling of Sh839. 5million.

The MCAs had cited a circular from the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) that stated that loans and mortgages were not part of set ceilings.

"The CRA circular quoted by the Assembly cannot supersede an act of the Senate that set the ceiling. I therefore propose car loan and mortgage be set at Sh20 million to meet the ceilings," he said.

Mr Munya also wants MCAs to do away with plans to construct Assembly offices at a cost of Sh61.5 million.

"We are in the last financial year and therefore it is not prudent to initiate new projects when we have just completed refurbishment of the Assembly chambers. The Assembly is yet to spend Sh28.9 million allocated last year. Any further allocation for a project that is yet to start is unnecessary," Mr Munya said.

The governor wants Sh133. 8 million meant for County Assembly offices and car loan and mortgages reallocated towards settling pending bills and financing the Meru Microfinance Corporation and the Meru Investment Corporation.

However, the MCAs have opposed the memorandum maintaining that Assembly offices must be built to create more space.

While passing the Sh8.3 billion budget on June 30, the MCAs increased allocation to roads development in the wards, by more than Sh93 million.

The MCAs increased the transport and infrastructure budget from Sh588.7 million to Sh682.3 million by deducting money from water and agriculture projects.

The reduction of water and agriculture department allocation was also opposed by the governor.

The MCAs had restored Sh61 million for construction of county assembly offices, that had been slashed by the finance executive.

Other changes that the governor wants made to the Meru County Appropriation Bill 2016 include scrapping of the phrase 'Ward development projects' since there is no law to support it.

He also cites itemizing of water department budget, reduction of agriculture budget by Sh47 million, unnecessary allocation of Sh61.5 million for Assembly offices and exceeding of County Assembly ceilings by Sh55 million.

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