Counties paid Sh12bn wages using manual systems, report shows

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o. She has raised concerns over counties' payment of wages and salaries through manual systems.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The Controller of Budget (COB) has raised concerns over counties payment of wages and salaries through manual systems, risking the loss of billions of public funds.

COB Margaret Nyakang’o, in her report of counties budget implementation in the nine months to March 2022, observed that counties processed wage bills amounting to Sh11.99 billion through the manual systems and vouchers, which are prone to abuse.

Ms Nyakang’o flagged nine counties which paid huge amounts through the unsecured systems, advising devolved units to fast track the adoption of secure payroll systems.

“This is contrary to government policy, which requires salaries to be processed through the IPPD system. The manual payroll is prone to abuse and may lead to the loss of public funds with a lack of proper controls.

“The counties that had the highest payments through the manual system were; Bomet at Sh1.06 billion, Kiambu at Sh864.22 million, Garissa at Sh746.10 million, Nakuru at Sh593.48 million, Marsabit at Sh569.40 million, Homa Bay at Sh495.19 million, Vihiga at Sh469.81 million, Siaya at Sh449.92 million, Mandera at Sh440 million, Laikipia at Sh419.32 million, and Kisumu at Sh401.27 million,” Ms Nyakang’o stated.

The COB warned that usage of the manual systems could be abused by county officials to steal public funds.

“The Controller of Budget advises county governments to fast-track the acquisition of staff personal numbers and ensure the entire wage bill is captured in the prescribed personnel system,” the report stated.

And Members of County Assembly (MCAs) in nine counties increased their sitting allowances by Sh84 million in the nine months to March 2022 compared to a similar period last year, as their focus on fattening their perks accelerated in the final year of office.

Sitting allowances

MCAs in Migori County pocketed average monthly sitting allowances of Sh167,194 between July 2021 and March 2022, raising the spending on sitting allowances from Sh56 million in the nine months to March 2021, to Sh85.8 million. During a similar period last year, the MCAs pocketed a monthly average of Sh109,214.

The 20 MCAs in Nyamira who pocketed an average of Sh120,053 monthly in the nine months raised overall spending on sitting allowances from Sh33 million to Sh39.9 million.

Closing the list of three counties where MCAs pocketed biggest sitting allowances, Busia MCAs earned a monthly average of Sh114,211 in the three quarters of 2021/22, raising the total expenditure on sitting allowances in the county assembly during the nine months from Sh53 million last year to Sh55.5 million.

The Controller of Budget (COB) report on counties budget implementation in the first nine months of the financial year 2021/22 shows that a total of nine counties had MCAs pocket a monthly average of above Sh100,000 in sitting allowances, even as their respective counties failed to spend effectively on development.

“The county assemblies spent Sh1.5 billion on MCA’s Sitting allowances against an approved budget allocation of Sh2.59 billion during the reporting period. This expenditure translates to 58.1 per cent of the approved MCAs sitting allowance budget, an increase from 51.8 per cent attained in a similar period of FY 2020/21 when Sh1.49 billion was spent,” the report stated.

In Homa Bay, MCAs pocketed an average of Sh111,248, in Kakamega Sh106,570, in Siaya Sh106,792, in Kwale Sh106,063, in Kisii Sh103,124 and in Elgeyo Marakwet Sh103,234.

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