Nakuru governor declines to sign Bill for Sh2bn ward kitty

Wednesday March 21 2018

Governor Lee Kinyanjui

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui who has declined to sign a Bill that sought to create a Sh2 billion ward development fund. He referred the Bill back to the county assembly. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By Francis Mureithi
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Hopes of Nakuru MCAs to establish a Sh2 billion ward development kitty have been dashed after Governor Lee Kinyanjui declined to sign a Bill that sought to create the fund.

The 78-member assembly had unanimously passed the Nakuru County Revenue Allocation Bill, 2018 in January, touting it as the most progressive Bill to fight runaway poverty at the ward level.

The MCAs were eagerly hoping to get at least 25 percent of the county’s annual development funds to initiate their preferred projects in their wards through public participation.

At least each of the 55 wards in the 11 sub-counties would have been allocated between Sh20 million and Sh40 million in the next financial year if the Bill had become law.

BACK TO ASSEMBLY

However, Governor Kinyanjui referred the Bill back to the assembly.

In a seven-page memorandum, Mr Kinyanjui explains in details why he has referred the Bill back to the assembly.

“The county’s financial position is strained due to a high wage bill and inherited pending bills amounting to Sh3 billion,” reads the memorandum signed on February 6.

The county annual wage bill is nearly Sh6 billion.

Mr Kinyanjui says the county revenue collection has stagnated at Sh1.8 billion in the last two financial years.

He said the Bill would result to a deficit of Sh1.2 billion and would deny the executive funds needed to undertake flagship projects.

“The implication of this Bill is that the executive would only get a balance of Sh128 million for flagship projects which is insignificant,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

FLAGSHIP PROJECTS

However, Mr Kinyanjui did not name the flagship projects that would be affected by the Bill if it became law.

But some of the MCAs termed the governor’s decision to refer back the Bill to the assembly as “ill-advised and a betrayal”.

“We want to tell Governor Kinyanjui that it is his business to increase revenue collection and seal corruption loopholes in his administration. If he is unable to collect enough revenue, that is his problem. We want our money. Introducing bottlenecks in this Bill is unacceptable,” said an angry MCA who declined to be named.

While referring the Bill to the assembly, Mr Kinyanjui pointed out that he supports any Bill that seeks to devolve development to the wards.

“I shall support this Bill subject to change in the financial position,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

He poked holes into various sections of the Bill saying it does not meet the expectations of all stakeholders.

“Sub-section 4(2) of the proposed Bill that is seeking 25 percent of the equitable shares and the county local revenue collection did not consider the Public Finance Management Regulations,” said Mr Kinyanjui.

He said the Bill poses a risk of increased pending bills due to a reduction in local revenue collection.

At the same time he said the Bill would grind the operations of the county to a halt due to inadequate money for recurrent expenditure.