Covid-19 eats into counties' own-source revenue for 2020

Calling the shots at Office of the Auditor General, Controller of Budget and Commission of Revenue Allocation
Women crunching numbers in key State institutions
Photo credit: Pool

Laikipia topped in own-source revenue collection in the Mt Kenya region counties in the last financial year, a report by the Controller of Budget shows.

The report, covering the 2019/20 financial year, indicates that Sh727.96 million was collected in Laikipia against an annual target of Sh1 billion.

However, this was a decrease compared to the 2018/19 financial year where the county collected Sh815.79 million.

“This amount represented a decrease of 12.1 per cent compared to Sh.815.79 million realised during the same period in FY 2018/19, and represented 72.3 per cent of the annual target. The decrease in revenue collection was attributed to reduced economic activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report says.

The analysis shows that own-source revenue in most of the counties was adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the country in March 2020.

This saw the total own-source revenue in the 47 counties decrease by more than Sh5 billion compared to the 2018/19 financial year.

According to the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution, counties get their revenue from market and trade licensing fees, parking fees, liquor licensing, county parks, beaches and public cemeteries. They also control licensing of dogs, ferries, tourism and casinos.

“This under-performance of own-source revenue collection was, partly, as a result of economic disruptions occasioned by actions taken by the government to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which impacted all sectors of the economy,” the report by Dr Margaret Nyakang’o, the controller of budget, says.

In Nyeri, the county government collected Sh664.86 million against a Sh1 billion target. This accounted for 66.5 per cent. And in Kirinyaga County, Sh374.74 was collected recording a decrease of more than Sh55 million compared to the previous year.

Embu County managed Sh509.65 million, down from the Sh629.43 million collected in 2018/19, while Murang’a County recorded a decrease of Sh195 million by collecting Sh580.3 million.

Isiolo county government had Sh122.08 million, a decrease from the Sh161.77 million in the previous financial year, and in Meru, the own-source revenue stood at Sh386.3 million. Counties in Northern Kenya, however, recorded a significant increase in their own sourced revenue.

Dr Nyakang’o attributed the increase to the automation of revenue collection and land digitisation.

Mandera County registered a 30 per cent increase in its own sourced revenue with Sh124.96 million in its coffers.

“The increase was attributed to automation of revenue collection systems in the entire county as well as land digitisation in Mandera East,” the report adds.

In Marsabit County, Sh126.71 million was collected, an increase from the Sh124.10 million collected in the previous year, while Turkana County collected Sh176.23 million, up from Sh167.77 collected in the 2018/19 financial year.

Wajir and Garissa counties also recorded an increase from Sh60.12 million toSh60.42 million and Sh108.22 million to Sh109.92 million respectively.

Dr Nyakang'o called on counties to develop and implement measures to generate more revenue so as to fully finance their bills.

"Such measures should include automating revenue collection to enhance efficiency," she said.

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