Untimely release of funds from the National Treasury is the biggest challenge to completion of projects as well as running services in counties.
County Governments largely rely on funds from the National Treasury for payment of salaries and to run all other projects in devolved units. However, late disbursement leads to slow absorption of funds and accrued bills.
Speaking to the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee chaired by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri, Governor Jackson Mandago said his government has had financial challenges occasioned by late release of funds.
“The biggest reason for the delay in completion of projects and accrued pending bills is largely due to delay in disbursement of funds from the treasury,” says Mandago at the committee sitting held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
Also, Governor Mandago said his government always has to ensure that bills are strictly paid for services rendered.
“These are public monies. It has always been my duty and that of my government to ensure that the monies are spent well.”
“For this reason, one of the reasons for slow absorption of funds is partly because we cannot pay a contractor before work has been ascertained and a report to qualify payment,” says Mandago.
Governor Mandago was in the Senate to shed light on the financial expenditures for Financial Years 2017/2018. All Governors are usually invited each year to parliament on the same.
To improve on financial management and adherence to the law, Mandago says, his government has set up an audit committee. This was his priority at the start of his second term. An internal audit charter is already in place.
“From your (Mandago’s) presentation, I have to appreciate that you are hands-on. There are challenges in governance but what matters is how well we utilize what is available as well as using the challenges as stepping stones,” said Prof Ongeri.
Prof. Ongeri, the senator for Kisii, was deputized by his Marsabit counterpart Hargura Godana (Marsabit).
Article 96 of the constitution empowers the Senate to summon and invite County Governors over financial expenditure.
The committee members present were Ledama Ole Kina (Narok), Johnes Mwaruma (Taita Taveta) Fatuma Dulo (Isiolo) and Kiprotich Cherargei (Nandi). Uasin Gishu senator Prof Margaret Kamar was invited to attend.
Governor Mandago was flanked by his cabinet, Eng Gideon Birir (Roads and Public Works), CPA Julius Ruto and chief officers Peter Chesos (Finance), CPA Millicent Okonjo, Victoria Tarus (Fisheries) and Simeon Kemei (Environment and Water), Finance Director CPA Silas Rono, Accountant in charge of Assets and Liabilities.