By Adieri Mulaa
Nairobi county has achieved more development in road infrastructure and other capital projects through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.
A Member of County Assembly for Eastleigh North, Osman Adow says such level of development would not have been attained within the same period even with a substantive governor in the capital city.
“We couldn’t have done even 20% of what NMS has so far achieved even if we had a substantive governor in Nairobi and this is not a political statement”, Mr Adow told a joint benchmarking meeting of MCAs from Nairobi and Kilifi County Assemblies held in Nairobi last week.
It was attended by members of Kilifi County Assembly Budget Committee and their counterparts in the Nairobi City County Assembly Finance, Budget and Appropriations Committee.
Legislators from the two county assemblies used the opportunity to share their experiences how devolved government had impacted development in their respective counties.
Kilifi county annual budget stands at Kshs14 billion while Nairobi City County has an annual budget of close to Kshs40 billion.
In Nairobi county, the NMS is the implementing agency of capital projects since March 2020, when the county government then under former Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko transferred some of its key functions to the National Government.
The transferred functions include county health services; county transport services; county planning and development services; and county public works, utilities and ancillary services.
President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Lt Gen Mohamed Badi (then as Maj Gen) to head the NMS, which is domiciled in the Office of the President, as the director general.
The one day meeting last Wednesday was presided over by Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia who chairs the Budget Committee in Nairobi County Assembly.
The Kilifi County Assembly delegation was led by the House chairman of Budget Committee, Mr Albert Kiraga and the County Assembly Principal Physical Analyst, Mr Shaban Mwavengu, heading the technical team.
Mr Kiraga noted that in Kilifi county, the highest figure of own source revenue collected stood at Kshs 793 million. He revealed to that while ambitious revenue projections impacted the county budget, positive values were recorded.
“We at times inflate on projected revenue and lose but on value basis, our revenue has been on upward trend”, he said.
In Nairobi, Mr Mbatia said although revenue collection was going down, the highest reported own source revenue collection was Kshs 12 billion.
Mbatia pointed out that politicians played a vital role in pushing for development projects, hence contributing to improvement of livelihoods for the city residents.
In Kilifi County, MCAs have created a scholarship fund in the County Assembly, where every Ward gets Kshs 25 million. Kiraga said although the amount is factored in the budget, it was a heavy cost.
However, he noted that the facility also served as an instrument at the governor’s disposal to tame the county legislators. Even though, each of the 35 Wards in Kilifi gets another Kshs10 million each financial year for bursary funding.
Beneficiaries receive disbursements in form of cheques for accountability purposes, Kilifi Budget Committee chairman told the meeting.
The bursary and scholarship facilities in Kilifi, said Kayole South Ward Fredrick Okeyo, were in total contrast with Nairobi, where each of the 85 Wards is allocated Kshs3.5 million every financial year.
Ward bursary fund in Nairobi is also a nightmare faced with several challenges including delays in disbursement. The County also has the Governor’s Bursary Fund which is at the discretion of the governor.
Mr Mbatia told the meeting that City Hall was still doing some projects that existed under the former Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF) in the defunct regime, which have not been completed due to frustrations occasioned by the Office of the Controller of Budget.
Funds for the incomplete LATF projects are domiciled at the County Treasury where payment processes are subjected to endless bureaucracies, he said.