Mombasa Governance Network has questioned the viability of some projects and allocations in the county’s Sh14.6 billion budget.
It said the priority section of the budget lacks reliable and accurate data. There is no specific interventions and allocations, the Network said.
The Network has noted some projects, earmarked for funding, have continuously been financed in previous budgets.
They said this is a recipe for corruption.
“The county claimed to have constructed phase one of the perimeter wall at Mwakirunge dumping site, yet we did not see any construction when we recently visited the place,” Lucas Fondo, a member of the Network, said.
Mombasa plans to construct the second phase of the wall, Fondo said, raising queries over possible embezzlement of funds.
He spoke shortly after the group presented a memorandum to County Assembly Finance, Budget and Appropriation Committee on June 10.
Issues of budget credibility, transparency and accountability are critical, Josephine Nyamai said. She is a public finance management practitioner.
Mombasa budget in the next Financial Year (FY) has shot up by Sh900 million from Sh13.7 billion in 2019-20.
To fund the proposed budget, the county expects Sh7.2 billion as equitable share and Sh2 billion as conditional grants. The county targets a local revenue of Sh5.2 billion, an amount the Network said was impractical.
“Our main proposition is that the county needs to revise the figure downwards from Sh5.2 billion to an attainable and a realistic target for the local revenue collection,” Zedekiah Adika said. He heads the Coast Civil Society Reference Working Group (CCSRG).
The county is struggling with a bloated wage bill, which takes 38 per cent of its total revenue. But it has increased its recurrent expenditure by Sh400 million to hire and promote staff. This expenditure stood at Sh9.4 billion in the last FY.
“Therefore, we recommend that the county stops unnecessary annual promotions which continue bloating the wage bill and channel such monies to development activities,” the memorandum says.
The county has not clearly stated how it will mitigate debts and budget deficit. Indicators and targets are not accompanied by any allocation.
“We recommend matching financial and non-financial information for easy tracking and accountability purposes,” the Network said.
The budget lacks specific interventions and allocation to stem coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Health (MoH) says the county has second-highest cases after Nairobi.
“Further, the county has not taken into account the economic impacts associated with the pandemic but rather assumes that the economy will normalize and recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” the Network said.
About Mombasa Governance Network
The Network is CCSRG’s thematic area that deals with governance. MUHURI is a member.