Governor Tolgos Response to President Kenyatta’s oversight ‘costs’ Remarks

Communication team attached to the office of Elgeiyo Marakwet County Governor on Friday made an official statement in response to President Kenyatta’s remarks during 2019 Devolution Conference.

“Conditional grants allocation from development partners are not guaranteed each year and come with specific conditions counties must adhere to before disbursements and subsequent allocations.” Reads part of the statement

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 President Uhuru Kenyatta in his speech regretted the rising levels of budget allocations by counties to oversight ‘costs’ at the County Assemblies.

The president’s concern elicited a heated debate within Elgeiyo Marakwet prompting the county communication team to give the position of the county administration.

Governor Tolgos’ administration used figures drawn from the recently approved 2018/19 Supplementary budgets to analyze the budgetary allocation to the County Assembly of Elgeiyo Marakwet for oversight costs and on the allocation given to the County Executive for projects implementation and service delivery costs.

 The statement states that operational costs first development allocations and  the total allocation to development is 2.46B .
1. On-going projects (rolled-over) from 2017/18 awaiting payments – 869m
2. Conditional grants allocations – 759m
3. 2018/19 projects allocation of 837m (being the amount widely referred to as the amount County Assembly oversights with its annual budget allocation of 566m).

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The statement further reveals that the  County Executive of Elgeiyo Marakwet County which consists of 12 Departments has been allocated a total of 204m shared across these Departments ( amount not inclusive of  allocations for Health Facilities FIF – 37m, Bursary – 31m  because they are not discretionary)

From the total O&M 482.6m allocation in Elgeiyo Marakwet, County Assembly gets 58% while the County Executive (combined for 12 Departments) gets 42%.

While strongly stating that the parameters used to determine the oversight costs are not based on factual costing, Elgeiyo  Marakwet county administration admitted  CRA sets County Assembly ceilings thus the reason most County Assemblies do not maximize the allocation ceilings set by CRA annually.

The  County Assembly of Elgeiyo Marakwet is said to be one of the county assemblies in Kenya that allocates itself the maximum ceiling set whereas other Assemblies appreciate the subjective approach that CRA uses and thus allow the County Executive to use the ‘excess’ amounts in their ceilings to finance additional projects.

Oversight Costs

Oversight costs are committee sitting allowances and retreat costs, stationery, conference while implementation and service delivery costs include: Street lighting bills, water treatment chemicals, Early Childhood Development ECD & Vocational Training Centers VTCs curriculum support, fuel costs for projects supervision, uniforms for health staff, allowances, electricity bills, extension services costs, solid waste management costs in urban centers, vehicles and heavy machinery (graders) insurance and maintenance costs, medical outreaches, preventive and promotive health….etc

“Is it a surprise then that the projects implementation rates have been slow leading to high levels of roll-over? Isn’t projects implementation and service delivery operational costs of equal importance as oversight costs?” continues the statement.

County Administration’s proposed oversight and implementation roles

The statement proposed a re-visiting of proper costing of roles at the County with the help of CRA so as to ensure both roles are carried out without any undue disadvantages. Adding that the  county Executive has already begun proposing the reduction of the County Assembly allocation by 120m in the 2019/20 County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) that was submitted to the Assembly

The need for a collective approach towards the lobbying for more allocations through CRA and Senate by leaders of both the arms of the county government, Members of Parliament, the county Senator.

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