MURIMI MUTIGA @murimimutiga
Mombasa county government plans to spend Sh10.1 billion on payment of salaries and allowances in the 2019/2020 financial year, according to a draft fiscal strategy that has caused uproar among residents and civil society groups.
The county expects the total revenue to increase from Sh13.5 billion to about Sh14.6 billion. Sh10.6 billion of the estimated revenue will come from the exchequer while Sh4 billion will be from local revenue sources.
Out of the proposed recurrent expenditure, personnel emolument will get the highest allocation of Sh5.5 billion. Salaries and allowances for doctors, nurses and other health service providers will get the highest allocation of Sh2.2 billion. Employees in Finance and Economic department will get Sh650 million.
The county will spend about Sh4.4 billion on development. An estimated Sh873 million of this will go towards improvement of infrastructure followed by finance and economic planning, which is expected get about Sh640 million.
Civil society groups have rubbished the draft fiscal strategy paper, saying residents were left out in identifying priority projects.
Governor Hassan Joho was criticised for spending more than three quarters of the annual county budget on wages at the expense of development.
Civil society groups, including Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Mombasa Governance Network, and some residents accused Joho of having his “priorities upside down” by allocating “too little to development.”
Speaking during a draft fiscal strategy paper forum at Tononoka Hall, Mombasa Governance Network leader Zedekiah Bika wondered why the county’s recurrent expenditure had continued to grow.
“We need more than half of the county revenue allocated to development but not paying salaries and allowances,” Bika said.
The County Assembly has been allocated Sh683 million with half of the money going towards payment of salaries of MCAs and staff while the rest will go towards operations and maintenance of the Assembly.
County Executive, which includes the governor, his deputy and County Executive Committee members (CECs) will spend Sh437 million on salaries and allowances.
The Draft fiscal paper has identified water, food security, improving of health services, provision of quality education, gender empowerment, youth and sports development and improved land and housing services as the broad priority areas that will guide the county government in preparing its budget for the year 2019/2020.
The county projects that it its revenue will grow progressively in the next three financial years to an estimated Sh15 billion in 2020/21 and Sh15.3 billion in 2021/22.
The budgeting process requires the county Treasury to prepare and submit the County Fiscal Strategy Paper to the CECs for approval before it is tabled at the County Assembly by February 28, each year.
The law also requires the county Treasury to publish and publicise the County Fiscal Strategy Paper within seven days after it has been submitted to the County Assembly.