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How assemblies blew Sh1.5b on perks

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka.

The Office of the Controller of Budget has faulted County Assemblies for spending more than Sh1.5 billion on committee sitting allowances against the Salaries and Remuneration Commission ceiling of Sh1.3 billion per year.

Thus, an average monthly sitting allowance for a ward representative is Sh124,800.

“This expenditure translates to 58 per cent of the approved MCAs committee sitting allowance budget and an increase of 131 per cent attained in a similar period in the 2017/18 financial year when Sh670 million was spent,” reads a report by COB Agnes Odhiambo for the 47 county governments for the period from July, 2018 to March 2019.

The report tabled by Senate Leader of Majority  Kipchumba Murkomen yesterday shows that 2,236 ward reps removed themselves just like their counterparts in Parliament from the SRC regulatory framework that was supposed to harmonise salaries and deal with the arbitrary misuse of powers.

It cites Garissa and Tana River County Assemblies with the highest spending on committee sitting allowance.

Garissa county assembly spent Sh55 million on committee sitting allowances for the 49 MCAs and the Speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh121 million. This represented an increase of 77 per cent compared to Sh31 million spent in a similar period in the previous year.

“The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh125,381 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124, 800,” the report says.

While Tana River consumed Sh39 million on committee sitting allowances for the 24 MCAs and the Speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh39.95 million this represented an increase of 65.3 per cent compared to Sh5.63 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18.

This translates to an average monthly sitting allowance of Sh183,833 per MCA.

Migori County Assembly spent Sh39 million despite the fact that it was not budget for.

Despite the absence of budget allocation for this purpose, it spent less than what is approved by SRC.

“This represented a decrease of 181.9 per cent compared to Sh13.73 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18. The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh75,448 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124,800,” the report says.

Sitting allowances

Only Baringo, Kajiado, Lamu and Tharaka Nithi are within the SRC recommended budget ceiling for county assemblies.

Baringo County Assembly spent Sh4 million on committee sitting allowances for its 46 MCAs and the Speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh12 million.

This represented a decline of 34 per cent compared to Sh7 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18.

“The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh9, 875 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124, 800. However, it is key to note that this amount may not represent the actual amount paid since the assembly charged their sitting allowances on basic salary vote,” it reads.

Budget allocation

In Kajiado, the county spent Sh8 million on committee sitting allowances for the 42 MCAs and the Speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh34.50 million.

This represented a decline of 27.4 per cent compared to Sh12.18 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18.

“The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh23,371 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124,800,” it says.

Lamu County spent Sh5 million on committee sitting allowances for the 19 MCAs and the Speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh12 million.

This represented a decline/increase of 98 per cent compared to Sh2.46 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18.

“The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh28, 484 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124,800,” the report notes.

While Tharaka Nithi County Assembly spent Sh10 million on committee sitting allowances for the 21 MCAs and the speaker against the annual budget allocation of Sh28million.

This represented an increase of 173.3 per cent compared to Sh3.65 million spent in a similar period of FY 2017/18.

The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh52,859 per MCA against the SRC’s recommended monthly ceiling of Sh124,800.

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