Kenya: Meru MCAs Want Local Revenue Target Revised Downwards

4 December 2019

The Meru County Assembly has recommended that the local revenue target be reduced by Sh150 million in the next financial year, terming it currently unrealistic.

In the current financial year, the county targets to collect Sh705 million, down from a target of Sh1.1 billion in 2018/2019.

In 2018/2019 financial year, the county raised Sh581 million against a target of Sh1.1 billion.

UNREALISTIC TARGETS

While debating a report of the budget committee on the Meru County Budget Review and Outlook Paper, 2019, MCAs blamed persistent budget deficits on the "unrealistic targets".

Earlier, the MCAs had warned of a possible financial crisis in the county due to budgeting using unrealistic local revenue targets.

Budget Committee Chairman Julius Mbijiwe said the assembly will no longer approve budgets with unrealistic own revenue targets.

"There has been continued overestimation of local revenue which has led to persistent deficits in revenue collection and ultimately, the accrual of pending bills. There is need to provide the previous actual collections as the target in the following financial year. Any surplus can be factored in subsequent supplementary budgets," Mr Mbijiwe said.

LOSS OF INCOME

The budget committee observed that despite cutting the target from Sh1.1 billion to Sh705 million, the latter is not achievable.

Mr Mbijiwe said county executives should be held accountable for loss of income from revenue streams under their departments.

He also raised concern over continued illegal spending of local revenue at source by several government arms.

"As far as we know, only the Meru Alcoholic Control Board is allowed by law to spend at source. The hospitals, Veterinary department, Kaguru and Mitunguu agricultural centres are all spending money illegally.

"We established that in some cases, artificial insemination officers do not issue receipts for the services, leaving gaps for loss of public resources," the budget committee chairman said.

Naathu MCA Samuel Mutura said there is need for policies to cut down on the wage bill and recurrent expenditure that is about to hit Sh7 billion.

According to the Budget Review and Outlook Paper, 2019, the Meru county government hopes to receive Sh10.4 billion in equitable share, grants and own revenue in the 2020/2021 financial year.

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