Nakuru County has put in place reforms aimed at strengthening public finance management systems to ensure high absorption of cash in development projects.
The move comes a few months after several Members of County Assembly and Senator Susan Kihika faulted the executive over poor absorption rate of development funds.
The county is on the spot for spending only Sh751.5 million of its Sh8 billion development budget in the first nine months of the 2018/19 financial year.
And to ensure proper utilisation of the Sh21.3 billion budget for the 2019/2020 financial year, Governor Lee Kinyanjui appointed Mr Samuel Wachira as the acting director of procurement.
In the 2019/2020 budget, the development expenditure was allocated Sh10.5 billion, 49 per cent of the total budget.
In his appointments, on Wednesday, Mr Kinyanjui also named Mr Grishon Githiomi as the deputy director procurement.
The move of appointing the duo, who are Mr Kinyanjui’s close allies is seen as a way of revamping the department to ensure it is proactive in ensuring budgeted cash is fully spent on development projects.
Prior to his appointment, Mr Wachira was in charge of procurement department at the Anti-Stock Theft Unit –National Police Service.
He has vast experience in procurement, having also worked as the head of procurement Nyeri County, Interim Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and in the General Service Unit.
The procurement process has in the past been blamed for low absorption of development funds.
To ensure prudent use of public funds, accountability and service delivery to residents, Governor Kinyanjui has constituted the first ever internal audit committee and is in the process of constituting the Nakuru County Budget and Economic Forum.
The Public Finance Management (PFM) Act 2012, mandates counties to establish and strengthen the county budget and economic forums.
The forum is important in the budget process as it facilitates consultations between citizens and county governments on matters planning, budgeting and overall economic advancement.
In an advertisement published on August 17, in local dailies, the county government, through the County Secretary, invited various professionals and faith based organisations to nominate members into the forum.
The elderly, youth, women representatives and persons living with disability were also urged to forward names of their nominees.
The members of the CBEF will help in preparation of the county plans fiscal strategy paper, budget review outlook paper and advice on Budget and Economic matters.
The forum will also play a key role in the management of public finances by ensuring the public input is incorporated to inform planning, county borrowing and wage bills.
Last month, Governor Kinyanjui constituted the county Internal Audit Committee, to ensure proper utilisation of resources allocated to the devolved unit by the National Treasury and enhance accountability.
The county has also moved to publish its budget implementation reports on its website.
A survey carried out by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) Kenya, in 2017, revealed that most county governments do not publish their budget implementation reports on their websites.
The study done in February showed that, out of the 47 counties, only Kirinyaga and Baringo have released budget implementation reports for the financial year 2016/2017. The two counties had published first quarter implementation reports on their websites.