The County Government of Taita Taveta is staring at a crisis.
This is after the County failed to meet budgetary timelines.
In other Counties, the budget estimates have been tabled in the Assemblies and even adopted.
The Governments 2018/2019 financial year ended on 30th June and now the 2019/2020 financial year has begun.
Last week Governor Granton Samboja declined to assent to the budget estimates to be tabled in the Assembly.
Samboja said the estimates cannot be presented to the Assembly since MCAs made amendments and proposed that shs 823 million be allocated for ward development fund.
The budget stalemate means that the county will not receive development funds for the next six months, something that could lead to dissolution of the County government
The total revenue estimates for Taita Taveta County for the financial year 2019/20 amounts to kshs 5.4 billion comprising of kshs 4.1billion from the national equitable share, kshs 320,000,000 from the local revenue and the balance includes a conditional grant of kshs 734,315,201.
There is a balance carried forward amounting to kshs 150,000,000 million.
This reflects a revenue growth of kshs 215,837,760 from the previous financial year’s revenue.
Out of the 5.4 billion, sh 3.6 billion is for recurrent expenditure while 1.8billion is set aside for development.
The County Assembly has a total of sh 611million budget with sh 544million for recurrent expenditure and 67million for development.
According to the Governor, the MCAs want to abandon their legislative and oversight roles.
Samboja said MCA’s want to undertake implementation of projects in their Wards- a role that is constitutionally mandated to the County Executive.
In a memorandum to the County Assembly on the budget estimates for financial year 2019-2020, Samboja said his government had prioritized access to clean water, improvement of health services, infrastructure development and Education.
He said he has also prioritized food security, empowerment of Youth, Women and Persons Living with Disabilities and payment of pending bills amounting to more than shs 400m.
“With the need to provide for a budgetary provision for pending bills and the other County government priority projects, the above recommendation for allocation of Kshs.41, 650,000 for each of the 20 Wards will not be tenable,” he said.
Samboja added that residents of Taita Taveta had previously highlighted their priorities during the budget making process which were incorporated in the estimates that were earlier on submitted to the County Assembly by the County Executive.
On the other hand, the Assembly did not undertake public participation in the 20 Wards citing limited resources.
Instead members of the public were requested to submit their views through written memorandum through the office of the County Assembly Clerk.
He complained that there was no clear public participation on the side of the county assembly in coming up with the Ward development projects.
He said the budget submitted to the county assembly by the executive was in compliance with the PFM Act 2012 section 107(2) (b).
The act states that 30% of the total budget of the county should be allocated to development.
The submitted budget managed to allocate a total of 32% for development budget and 68% for recurrent.
The County Assembly has now come under sharp criticism from county residents and leaders for overstepping its mandate.
.Senator Jones Mwaruma, Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime and Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako have sharply differed with the Assembly Members for dragging development.
Among the flagship projects earmarked by the assembly members include drilling of bore holes and construction of ECDC classrooms.
He challenged the governor to dissolve the county government and go the Makueni way in order to restrain the money hungry MCAs.
Professor Morris Mbondenyi said that sh 41.6m to each ward is too huge and will lead to fragmented development.
“As a county we need to focus on how we can consolidate our resources in macro- projects as opposed to fragmenting our resources to micro projects. Macro projects will see more youths employed, women empowered and the county transformed,” he said.