Isiolo County Assembly Approves Shoddy Supplementary Budget
By Finance Team,
Supplementary Budget is basically a request to Treasury for additional spending of public funds after the budget has been passed. Mohamed Wehliye, a senior adviser to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority says, “Whereas the rationale for Supplementary Budget is to make adjustments in revenue and expenditure in order to achieve policy objectives, the exercise has been abused”, he says continues, “In practice it has been used as an avenue to regularize expenditures that weren’t in original approved budget.” According to Mr. Wehliye supplementary budgets have the potential to change policy objectives midstream to align to populist agenda, therefore disrupting delivery and piling up pending bills.
Isiolo County Assembly passed a supplementary budget without the prerequisite public participation. Article 201 is clear on openness and accountability in financial matters including; public participation. The Assembly has come under heavy criticisms for been in bed with the Executive and failing to play its oversight role. The Assembly passed the Supplementary Budget in a record time and seriously overlooked all the requisite approval procedures. The supplementary budget was not taken through the rigorous Public Participation and until now very few actually know what priorities have been given in the budget.
The Supplementary Budget in itself has too many serious anomalies and appears to have breached a number of key provisions of the law. A total of Kshs. 5,484,098,999 has been approved for expenditure which is more than 10% of the Isiolo County Approved Budget of Kshs. 4.72 billion; this is contrary to PFM Act which sets the limit for supplementary budget at a figure not more than 10% of appropriated budget. The Budget has also set aside Kshs. 3,624,214,048 for recurrent expenditure and Kshs. 1,859,884,951 for development. It clearly appears like the County has made no effort to prioritize on development. It is important to note that from reports of the controller of budget Isiolo County spent zero shillings on development during the first half of the 2018/2019 financial year and even now appears to be spending over half of its budget on recurrent expenditures at the expense of development.
In the budget the County has also diverted money meant for development to recurrent expenditure a move that will seriously affect the County’s development. An excess of Kshs. 400M has been moved from several development funds and transferred elsewhere. Kshs. 80M has been moved from construction of County Headquarters, Kshs. 50M from construction of Ngarendare bridge, Kshs. 155M from the construction of Isiolo Market and Kshs.34.5M from construction of Isiolo Stadium to emergency relief foods. The total expenditure on recurrent issues appears to have shot higher and this move might slow down development in the County. Isiolo County appears to be making very little efforts towards improving the status of the County and the Assembly increasingly becomes the Executive’s rubber stamp.