October 19th 2017

Top Stories / Counties

Machakos County running unsustainable wage bill, says controller of budget

Out of the Sh5.86 billion spent in the period under review, Sh4.3 billion (74 percent) was utilized on recurrent expenditure leaving only Sh1.5 billion for development.

By Phillip MuleeThursday, 21 Jul 2016 20:24 EAT

The Controller of Budget has raised the red flag over the ballooning wage bill of Machakos county government. The controller’s office, in its report for the 2015/16 financial year, says the county is in  continuous staff hiring that threatens its resources.

The report by Mrs Agnes Odhiambo’s office faults the Governor Alfred Mutua-led administration of spending Sh2.97 billion in the first nine months of 2015/2016 financial year, raising the county’s wage bill to 50.7 per cent of expenditure, an increment of 30.8 per cent compared to a similar period of 2014/2015 financial year when the county spent Sh2.27 billion.

“The expenditure on personnel emoluments of Sh2.97 billion accounting for 50.7 per cent incurred in the first nine months of 2015/16 financial year represented an increase of 30.8 per cent compared to a similar period in 2014/15 when the County spent Sh2.27 billion. This increase is attributed to continuous recruitment of staff and annual salary increments,” the report said.

Out of the Sh5.86 billion spent in the period under review, Sh4.3 billion (74 per cent) was utilized on recurrent expenditure leaving Sh1.5 billion for development.

The County spent Sh41.74 million on sitting allowances for the 59 Members of County Assembly (MCAs) and the Speaker against an annual budget of Sh75.00 million, the report reveals. 

This, the report states, represents an increase from Sh36.88 million recorded in a similar period of FY 2014/15.

The average monthly sitting allowance per MCA was Sh77, 298 compared to Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124, 800. 

Mrs Odhiambo further warns the county over aggregate expenditure on domestic and foreign travel which was Sh223.95 million compared to Sh211.44 million incurred in a similar period of in 2014/15 financial year, representing an increase of 5.92 per cent.

The Controller of Budget, however, says the county has made progress in addressing some of the challenges previously identified as affecting budget implementation.

Some of the areas where progress has been made include: embracing use of Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to process financial transactions, improvement in staff capacity through training.

Mrs Odhiambo cites under-performance in local revenue collection which stood at Sh777 million, or 32.7 per cent of the annual target as among the challenges that continue to hamper effective budget implementation in the county.

This implies that some budgeted activities might not be implemented due to the low local revenue collection which may result into lack of funds, the report notes. 

The report recommends that Machakos should devise strategies to ensure revenue collection meets set targets, urgently seek a solution to the huge wage bill and the County Treasury to hasten establishment of an Internal Audit Committee as per Section 155(5) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 to enhance public financial management.

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