North Rift counties ‘most open with their budgets’

North Rift Economic Bloc

North Rift Economic Bloc governors address the Press at Boma Inn in Eldoret in 2020. Counties under the bloc have more transparent budgets compared to the rest.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Counties under the North Rift Economic Bloc have more transparent budgets compared to those in other regions, a report has shown.

The Kenya County Budget Transparency 2020 Survey (CBTS) by International Budget Partnership (IBP) Kenya shows West Pokot, Samburu, Turkana and Elgeyo Marakwet presented key fiscal and budget-related documents that the study assessed.

Encouraged dialogue

The counties scored 73, 64, 63, 62 points respectively out of a possible 100 points. Central Regional Economic Bloc was ranked second with the counties of Laikipia (71) and Nyeri (71) topping the transparency list.

The report noted that Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani and Frontier Counties Development Council have no county with a transparency index of more than 50 points.

In Ukambani counties that form the South Eastern Kenya bloc, only Makueni (70) provided the most documents. Nairobi, Narok and Kajiado were excluded in the ranking as they don’t belong to any of the blocs.

IBP surveys official county government websites to assess key county budget documents that should have been shared with the public while formulating and implementing the budget, in accordance with the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, 2012.

Budget documents whose availability is assessed in the survey are County Integrated Development Plan, Annual Development Plan, County Fiscal Strategy Paper, Program-Based Budget and Citizens Budget.

Others are the Finance Act, County Budget Review and Outlook Paper, and Quarterly Budget Implementation Report, which ideally should improve counties’ oversight in budget-making.

The average score of the county survey was 33 points out of a possible 100.

The scores highlight the performance of each individual county and a performance index that ranks them from the most open to the most opaque on matters of public budget.

So far, counties have grouped themselves into six regional economic blocs that are based only on geographical proximity.

According to the Council of Governors, there are six economic blocs formed by counties brought together by common interests such as marketing agricultural produce and tourism sites, as well as enacting trade and investment laws that cut across their regions.

Service delivery

They are the North Rift Economic Bloc, Frontier Counties Development Council, Lake Region Economic Bloc, Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani, Central Economic Bloc and the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc.

The report states that the budget documents CBTS 2020 analysed revealed they frequently lack specific budget information details that citizens would need to monitor service delivery.