The latest report by the Controller of Budget has depicted how county governments have failed to spend billions of shillings allocated for development programmes last year.
Of the Sh160.5 billion that county governors allocated for development, they managed to utilise Sh97.9 billion only between July 1, 2022 and June 31, 2023.
The net effect is that billions of shillings amounting to Sh62.5 billion remained idle at the counties’ accounts at the Central Bank of Kenya.
The County Governments Budget Implementation and Review Report for the 2022-23 financial year has also exposed the irony of the billions allocated for development yet little is spent as taxpayers suffer.
Low absorption rates for the development mean that citizens did not benefit from public resources with projects like roads and hospitals affected during the last financial year.
Instructively, it was the first year in office for governors who were elected on August 9 but sworn in weeks later with big development dreams for their counties.
But governors have previously blamed inordinate delays in the disbursement of funds from the national government for lack of absorption capacity.
Five county governments had below 50 per cent absorption rate for their development budgets including Kisii, Kiambu, Nakuru, Busia and Machakos.
Governor Simba Arati’s Kisii County had budgeted to spend Sh3.3 billion on development projects but spent only Sh457.8 million which represents 13.9 per cent of the allocation.
The county’s absorption rate on recurrent expenditure was among the highest at 96.3 per cent of the Sh8 billion that was budgeted for.
This means that a total of Sh7.5 billion was absorbed from the recurrent budget.
Kiambu county, which was among the bottom five counties in the absorption of the development budget, spent Sh1.2 billion which represents 26.4 per cent of the Sh4 billion for development.