County Governments spent Sh5.28 billion on domestic and foreign trips between July and December last year, a report by the Controller of Budget has shown.
An analysis of the counties expenditure on travel showed that Nakuru County spent more than double what it had budgeted, exceeding its allocation.
Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and his executives spent Sh217 million while it had allocated only Sh86 million.
This means the county exhausted the allocation on travel expenses and drew money from other departments.
Machakos County was however leading the pact of counties (county executives and members of county assembly) that spent millions in trips at Sh266 million followed by Nairobi and Nakuru counties at Sh260 million and Sh238 million respectively.
“The County Governments spent Sh5.28 billion on domestic and foreign travel against an approved annual budget allocation of Sh12.25 billion.
“This expenditure represents 43.1 per cent of the total budget allocation towards domestic and foreign travel,” indicated the report.
Mombasa county spent the least in local and international travel at Sh37.5 million while Laikipia and Tana River counties followed at Sh40.85 million and Sh41.52 million respectively.
Members of the County Assembly pocketed Sh1.29 billion in sitting allowances against an approved budget allocation of Sh3.4 billion.
“This expenditure translates to 37.9 per cent of the approved MCA’s sitting allowance budget, a marginal decrease from 38.2 per cent attained in a similar period of 2015/16 financial year where Sh1.37 billion was spent,” indicated the report.
However Trans Nzoia, Murang’a and Homa Bay MCAs exceeded the Salaries and Remuneration Commission recommended monthly maximum of Sh124, 800.
Trans Nzoia MCAs pocketed Sh158,893 while their Murang’a and Homa Bay counterparts went home with Sh135,020 and Sh127,747 respectively in the six months under review.
Counties also recorded a low revenue collection at Sh13.4 billion which is less than a quarter of the annual target of Sh59.34 million.
“The County Governments generated a total of Sh13.4 billion, which was 22.6 per cent of the annual target,” noted Agnes Odhiambo, the Controller of Budget.
The revenue collected by the counties is used to fund county operations and failure to reach the target may jeopardise the implementation of some of the projects factored in the annual budget.
The budget estimates for the 47 counties for the current financial year amounts to Sh396.89 billion and by December last year, the counties had spent Sh128 billion.
On underperformance in local revenue collection, the controller of budget urged counties to develop and implement strategies that will enhance local revenue collection and establish optimal staffing levels to ensure a sustainable wage bill.
Ms Odhiambo also raised alarm on low expenditure on development projects and high expenditure on personnel emoluments citing them as challenges that hinder effective budget execution.
Nyeri county, for instance, spent Sh650,000 on development projects while it spent Sh1.25 billion on salaries and running the county.
The 47 counties however spent Sh35 billion in implementation of development projects against a budget of Sh165 billion and Sh92.64 billion on salaries and operation of the county against a recurrent budget of Sh230.9 billion.
This translates to an absorption rate of 21.5 per cent in the annual development expenditure and a 40.1 per cent absorption rate in the annual recurrent expenditure.