Kitui county chief officer for finance Enoch Nguthu was put to task to explain if the ministry was able to pay the June 2019 salaries for its employees. This even as residents threatened to walk to Nairobi to petition Kamba kingpin Kalonzo Musyoka to solve the leadership row. During the probe, the senior officer in the Governor Charity Ngilu executive, revealed that when the supplementary budgets they had previously submitted to the assembly were shot down and their hands were technically tied. Appearing before the county assembly committee on budgets and appropriations chaired by Tseikuru ward MCA Boniface Kilaa, Nguthu who was accompanied by the chief officer for planning and budget Justus Kalii was tasked to explain why there are issues of poor planning in terms of the county employees’ salaries 11 months into the end of the financial year despite there being an appropriated amount for the same by the assembly. The finance docket boss admitted to the MCAs that after evaluating the macroeconomic factors affecting the county there had been hope of collecting more revenue which would be expended in the payroll but this never happened. His planning docket counterpart Kalii explained that as soon as the county allocation of revenue Act is out, the county will immediately do a supplementary budget to factor in the expenditure of the salaries from the monies not used in the last financial year allaying fears that in June, 2020 the same predicament could occur again. The deputy speaker Kasee Musya (Kisasi) wanted a confirmation on whether the treasury did receive the approved 2019/2020 budget. “Where are we? This is a very fundamental issue,” he asked. Nguthu found himself in a tricky situation trying to explain that they got a budget with changes beyond 1pc contrary to the PFMA. “When we get a budget that has moved percentages, are we doing justice to the county?” inquired the CO. He however mentioned that they are in the process of developing a memorandum to be brought to the assembly and that they are currently able to continue spending due to the vote on account passed.
Ruth Kyene (Nzambani MCA) requested that the county does whatever it takes to avoid the standoff in order to move forward. “We are now operating on a 50pc budget. We would wish to negotiate with the assembly to be able to get an appropriations Act and utilise 100pc of the budget,” responded Nguthu. Nicholas Mwalali (Mbitini ward) however slammed Nguthu for wrongly applying Sec 134 of the PFMA which should be used when there is no appropriations Act but not when there are approved estimates.
Several leaders from Kitui county have raised their concern over salary delays, among them, Kiema Kilonzo who called upon the relevant authorities mostly the Kitui county assembly to ensure Kitui does not sink at the hands of incompetent people. “Let our MCAs exercise what we elected them for,” said Kiema expressing satisfaction on the shooting down of supplementary budget by the MCAs. Last week, finance offices were burnt down and police are carrying out investigations to find out the cause of the inferno