The World Bank and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has applauded county governments for progress and improvements recorded in own revenue collection and accountability.
During the ongoing public finance management peer learning forum organised by the World Bank and the Council of Governors at Lake Olbolosatt Resort in Nyandarua County, officials from the two organisations said despite a myriad of challenges facing devolution and individual county governments, the future looks bright for devolution with notable achievements since inception in 2013.
Ms Christine Awour, the senior public sector specialist with the World Bank, said county governments have made tremendous progress in the last few years since the start of devolution and the establishment of public finance management (PFM) frameworks.
“In terms of where there can be improvements, there are still more opportunities and counties have been able to identify this. They are clear on what steps they need to take and what actions need to be supported,” said Ms Awour.
She said with the identification of the opportunities and what they need to do, the counties can develop action plans that need support by the national government, donor community, adding that the World Bank is willing to support such initiatives.
“Its good time for devolution in Kenya. Six years after devolution we can see how PFM has helped in prudent pubic finance management. There are still some gaps but it is encouraging the counties are aware of these,” she said.
In terms of internal audit systems especially IFMIS, Ms Owour said there is a need to have them strengthened together with capacity building in implementing the internal audit systems.
Mr Joseph Kuria, a director at CRA, said there is notable progress in counties' own revenue collections, but there still exist some gaps exploited by dishonest county officials.
“A good number of counties have recorded encouraging progress in own revenue collection. Some of them like Nyandarua have maintained an upward trend. This is after adaptation of the automated revenue collection systems, but we still have some challenges where some officials can manipulate the system," said Mr Kuria.
UNREALISTIC REVENUE GOALS
He also complained of counties making unrealistic own revenue collection estimates, which becomes a challenge in development implementation when not achieved.
Nyandarua and Makueni counties that received clean audit reports credited their success to strict adherence to the PFM laws, with wider internal and external consultations when in doubt, and ensuring that funds are used to implement target projects, adding value to residents.
The forum started on Monday and ends Tuesday.