The National Government and County Governments have recorded an unprecedentedly low budget allocation for development projects over the past nine months, as revealed by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o in the Third Quarter Budget Expenditure Report.
The report shows both governments prioritized salary payments and recurrent expenditures, overshadowing the allocation for development projects.
In the past nine months, the national government’s expenditure amounted to Sh2.1 trillion. However, out of this total, only Sh259 billion was allocated to development projects, accounting for a mere 17% of the overall expenditure.
During the same period, the counties fared even worse, utilizing only 12.4% of the Sh239.67 billion allocated to them. This amounts to a meager Sh29.73 billion spent on development projects in the last nine months.
According to the report, a significant portion of the allocation, specifically Sh135.85 billion (56.7%), has been dedicated to salary payments, while Sh. 74.09 billion (30.9%) has been utilized for operations and maintenance purposes.
During the report’s launch, Nyakang’o absolved Governors from responsibility for the low expenditure on development projects. Instead, she attributed it to a decline in revenue, indicating that the reduced spending was a result of shrinking financial resources.
We cannot blame anyone for low absorption because we have not given them enough resources,” Nyakang’o said.
“When revenues are limited, you would rather go for the most urgent and here we are talking about salaries. When cash flows are limited, development suffers,” she added.
The Controller of Budget also noted that te underutilization of the development budget has been further exacerbated by the underperformance of counties in collecting their own revenue.
“We have an issue with the own-source revenue, they (counties) are barely scratching the surface,” Nyakang’o said.
The report identified 22 counties that fell short of achieving at least 50% of their own revenue targets. These are Kwale, Embu, Kisumu, Kakamega, Taita-Taveta, Tharaka-Nithi, Busia, Nairobi City, Garissa, Tana River, Nandi, and Mandera.
Wajir, Makueni, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kajiado, Nakuru, Murang’a, Kericho, Vihiga, and Nyamira counties also failed to meet their revenue expectations.