The Kakamega County ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and ICT has held a consultative forum on the first supplementary budget estimates for this Financial Year (FY) (2021/2022) with the Kakamega County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee.
The Thursday meeting was also attended by chairpersons of the Assembly’s sectoral committees as this years’ Budget enters in its third quarter beginning January.
Addressing the forum, the Finance CECM, Dr. Beatrice Sabana, said the biggest challenge facing counties is the issue of pending bills, where the devolved units owe contractors and suppliers in excess of KShs.10 billion.
Kakamega county has pending Bills amounting to KShs 30 million, which should be offset before the end of this year (2021), she revealed.
“The Governor, H.E Hon. Dr. FCPA Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya has cautioned against transferring any pending bill to the next regime and we are committed to fully implementing the directive. This will satisfactorily address the impasse where some incoming Governors become hesitant to authorize payments of pending bills from their predecessors resulting to hostility between County Governments and contractors and/or service providers,” said Dr. Sabana.
The CECM advised against initiating new mega projects before completing the initial ones as the Country prepares for the forthcoming general elections scheduled for next year saying it may contribute to more pending bills.
The head of county treasury urged Members of County Assemblies (MCAs to approve the supplementary budget estimates to enable the county government proceed with its development projects and programs.
About Own Source Revenue, Dr. Sabana said initially the County had anticipated to collect KShs 2.1 billion but due to the changing economic environment caused by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, the projections had to be revised to KShs1.6 billion as highlighted in the supplementary budget.
The reduction, she noted, has also led to adjustments of various Departmental allocations to reflect the current situation. Dr. indicated that moving forward the County targets structured revenue streams including parking fees, land rates, cess, defaulters, among others to bridge the fall.
The Chairperson of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, Hon. Willis Opuka, praised the good working relationship between the County Assembly and the Executive.
Hon. Opuka, however noted that the development allocation brought forward and the bursary kitty, should be enhanced to address needs in wards.
While his Education counterpart, Hon. Dickson Ombayo, raised a red flag saying the county executive must fastrack the process of disbursing bursaries on time to schools to avoid headteachers from sending away needy students when they resume learning in January next year.
He in particularly reminded the elected MCAs to be proactive to ensure the disbursement is done with speed.
The Ward Reps lamented that they face the challenge of late bursary distribution in school as parents usually pitch camps at in homes of the Honourable Members.
In attendance were Deputy Speaker, Hon. Soita Kasaya, Ag. Majority Leader, Hon. Kennedy Kilwake, Chairman Finance and Economic Planning Committee , Hon. David Ikunza, County Secretary and Head of Public Service Amb. James Ochami, Chief Officers Mr. Eugine Milimo (Environment), CPA Samson Otieno (Finance) and Mr. Dan Borter (Economic Planning & Investment), Head of Budget, CPA David Kuloba, Head of Economic Planning, CPA Cyrus Ondari, Head of Treasury CPA, Naomi Wangare, among other senior officers.