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Baringo county government defends its expenditure record



Baringo county government officials have dismissed a report by Controller of Budget (COB) to the effect that county governments were spending a huge chunk of their budgetary allocations on salaries and allowances only.

The officials led by deputy governor Jacob Chepkwony said that contrary to the assertion, the devolved units were strictly following the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act that stipulates that 30 percent of the total annual budget should be channeled to development.

At the same time the deputy governor flanked by County executive committee (CEC) member in charge of Finance Dr David Chesire said it was not true that in the first half of 2018/2019 financial year, Baringo county government spent more than Sh 575 million on salaries and allowance and nil on development.

Contrary to the audit report by Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, Mr Chepkwony said despite the county government receiving no money for development in the first quarter of 2018/2019 it managed to pay out Sh 343 million to contractors, a figure, he pointed out was not captured in the integrated financial management information system (IFMIS).

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The first quarter report from the COB revealed that county governments have allocated little or no funds for development yet they spent colossal sums on salaries and allowances denying the taxpayer critical services like healthcare, water and agricultural extension provisions.

According to the report Baringo County which has a budget of Sh4.29 billion set aside for recurrent expenditure and Sh3.63 billion on development, Sh 575 million was utilized on emolument  and nothing on development.

The report which indicated Machakos, Nyandarua and Marsabit as other counties to have utilized less funds in development also stated that in the first quarter of 2018/2019 Sh18 million and Sh21.26 million was spent in domestic and foreign travels in Baringo by both assembly and  county government respectively.

The controller of budget also in her quarterly report accused members of county assemblies of illegally awarding themselves hefty allowances and other perks.

Speaking outside the county government offices in Kabarnet town yesterday, the deputy county boss said that at the time the report was being compiled  county executive officers (CECs),Chief Officers (COs) and directors were assuming offices and still going around  grassroots to ascertain the kind of projects identified by wananchi and approved for implementation.

He added that some staff and contractors rolling out various development projects in the county were still acquainting themselves with IFMIS and E TO E procurement systems.

He said once the system is fully embraced by all the county governments, it will foster accountability and ensure that funds meant for the public is utilized well.

“Moving forward we will have a system where all people will be accountable and know how their money was spent,” he said.

Dr Chesire echoing sentiments by deputy governor exonerated the county government from accusations of having zero development votes and blamed the national government for failing to release funds on time for implementation of projects and programmes leaving wananchi to bash some governors as non performers.

The Finance CEC said however said as much as the two systems have taken time to be embraced, county staff and contractors have appreciated it in terms of setting projects.