UNTOLD STORY: Bungoma Annual Budget Estimates for the FY 2021/22

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County Assembly of Bungoma

18th August 2021:

Dear Fellow County Citizens and Residents of Bungoma.
  1. I wish to bring to your attention the sticky issues surrounding the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for County Government ofm Bungoma the Financial Year 2021/22;
  2. I wish to inform the public that the County Assembly of Bungoma is yet to legally and procedurally approve the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the Financial Year 2021/22.
  3. The statutory dateline for the approval of the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the County Government of Bungoma was 30th April 2021.
  4. The County Government of Bungoma first submitted the Draft Budget Estimates and PBB on 17th June 2021, it was rejected by the County Assembly of Bungoma because it violated the approved Ceilings set out in the County Fiscal Strategy Paper for the Financial Year 2021/22, contrary to provisions of Regulations 26 & 27 of the Public Finance Management Regulations, 2015.
  5. Indeed, the said Regulations does not allow budget deviation of more than 1percent of the approved Ceilings in the CFSP for that particular Financial Year.
  6. The Annual Budget Estimates and PBB was returned by the County Assembly through the Clerk to the County Executive Committee Member for Finance and Economic Planning for review and re-adjustment in sync with the CFSP.
  7. The said Draft Budget Estimates/PBB was re-submitted to the County Assembly on 9th July 2021/22 for consideration and approval.
  8. The Draft Budget Estimates/PBB was forwarded to the County Assembly Committee for Budget and Appropriations for consideration before tabling it to the Committee of the whole House for deliberation and approval or otherwise.
  9. That before the said Committee was tabled for deliberation on the floor of the County Assembly, the office of the Clerk received Amendment Proposals that had far reaching consequences on the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the Financial Year 2021/22.
  10. Among other amendments contained in the Hon. Bethwel Mwambu’s proposals were:
  • Transfer of some money from the County Assembly voteheads such as that of the County Assembly Staff promotions and training to the votehead of the Dual Carriage Road.
  • The Amendment by Hon. Mwambu also proposed to transfer some money from the Department of Health to hire vehicles by the County Executive Committee of Bungoma.
  • The proposed amendments irritated the County Assembly Leadership and Staff who indefinitely closed the County Assembly plenary as a protest against the aforementioned proposals.
  • The group of MCAs aligned to the County Governor, resolved to forcefully enter the County Assembly Plenary Hall and installed a temporary Speaker Hon. Janet Chebet to precide over Budget Estimates and PBB approval with the Hon. Mwambu’s amendment proposals.
  • They passed the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB late in the evening as some of the MCAs absconded the exercise.
  • The said budget was passed in the absence of the Substantive Speaker and without a Mace (a symbol of power and authority of the County Assembly) and official Hansard staff.
  1. It is instructive to observe that the County Government of Bungoma is late by 108 days after the 30th April 2021 dateline. That partly explains why the said Budget is illegal, irregular and overtaken by events;
  2. We assert that whatever was allegedly passed by a section of the members of the County Assembly aligned to Governor Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati was done un- procedurally and irregularly in the absence of the Substantive Speaker Emmanuel Mukhebi Situma;
  3. That the County Executive Committee Member for under the instruction of the County Governor presented the so called approved Annual Budget Estimates and PBB to the Office of the Controller of Budgets (COB) for adoption but were rejected due to the fact that they flouted the laid down fiscal procedures governed by the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 and Public Finance Management Regulations,2015;
    • That after the rejection of the County Government of Bungoma Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the FY 2021/22 by the Office of the Controller of Budgets (COBs), the MCAs aligned to the County Governor resolved to impeach the Speaker and change the House Leadership and Chase away the Clerk to the County Assembly. This became an uphill task as they could not raise adequate numbers to effect the envisaged changes;
    • The pro- Governor MCAs (popularly known as Ugali-Kuku syndicate group) resolved to engage their opponents in dialogue and consultation with the view of reaching consensus on the stalemate surrounding the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the Financial Year 2021/22.
    • Each side proposed 4 members to represent them in the negotiations.
    • They have been holding meetings to resolve the budget stalemate.
  1. We are duly informed that the two sides have resolved most of the contentious issues contained in the Hon. Mwambu’s Amendment proposals, except one.
  2. We hope that the sticky issue of transfer of some money from the Department of Health(money for medicine) to hire vehicles for the County Executive will be resolved today 18th August 2021 by the negotiating panel composed of MCAs from the two opposing camps.
  3. That time is running out for the approval of the County Government of Bungoma Annual Budget Estimates and PBB.
  4. The County Government of Bungoma should by now have uploaded the 2021/22 funds for Recurrent Expenditure and Development Expenditure on the Internet Banking (IB) platform through the IFMIS.
  5. Torch Africa is of the considered opinion that the said budget should be approved by tomorrow and latest by 20th August 2021 before the members of the County Assembly and County Executive of Bungoma join their colleagues in Makueni County for this year’s Devolution Conference and the envisaged Forum at Mombasa that will end around 10th September 2021.
  6. The two sides of the MCAs should soften their hard stances and put the interest of the County Citizens and Residents first by passing the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the Financial Year 2021/22.
  7. If the said budget is not passed before 20th August 2021, then the only option is to have a Vote on Account under Section 134 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 to allow access to 50 Percent of the Annual Budget Estimates for mainly Recurrent Expenditure and Personnel Emoluments for Staff in the County Assembly and those in the County Executive Public Service.
  8. By now the County Government of Bungoma should be deliberating on the Annual Budget Estimates and PBB for the next Financial Year 2022/23 and other related County Fiscal documents like the Finance Bill, Annual Development Plan, among other Fiscal documents.
  9. The County Executive and County Assembly of Bungoma must ensure that we are meaningful public participation in line with articles 1, 2, 3, 10, 33, 35, 47, 48,50, 73, 183,185, 196 & 201 as read together with Section 125 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 and PFM Regulations, 2015.
  10. Torch Africa hereby humbly advice Governor Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati and Hon Emmanuel Situma to swallow their pride, reconcile and work together for the sake of promoting good governance, quality and adequate public service delivery and sustainable development.
Prof. Nyukuri Barasa
  • By Barasa K. Nyukuri,
  • Governance and Public Policy Expert
  • Torch Africa Civil Society Organization
  • Email torchafrica@gmail.com/nyukuri barasa@yahoo.com

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