The Governors may be forced to rethink a strategy after the Government's decision.
Eleven Counties which had proposed to have Ward Development Funds (WDF) have suffered a blow after the Government’s Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo quashed the formation of the kitty, citing breach of law.
Dr Odhiambo, in a circular sent to the County Executive Members for Finance and Clerks of the county assembles in all the 47 counties, said that their proposals to have Ward Development Funds (WDF) were illegal.
The counties affected are: Nairobi, Embu, Nandi, Kisumu, Kakamega, Machakos, Murang’a, Meru, Laikipia, Nakuru, and Kiambu County which had proposed an annual Sh1.8 billion kitty for its 60 wards.
“Having reviewed the draft legislations establishing the WDF, which were forwarded to our office by several counties, we have observed that a majority do not meet the conditions prescribed in Regulation 197.
We have noted that most of the projects to be funded are similar to those that would ordinarily be delivered through the normal structure of the budget appropriations,” the Controller of budget said in a circular.
Further, the draft legislations, she said, indicate that the kitties that are to be supervised by Ward Reps will be dependent on annual financing from the County Exchequer.
Ms Odhiambo further directed that projects established under the said kitty should be put under the development budgets and implemented by the respective departments.
She explained that the kitty should be initiated through the County Executive Committee Member, under whose management it falls, and should “provide clear justification as to why the fund in necessary.”
She challenged that County Executive Members, who were purportedly to be in charge of the kitty to demonstrate how it will fit in the overall medium term plan and county fiscal strategic paper.
Numerous legislators had used the Ward Development Fund agenda as a proposal to the electorates to have them voted in. Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata had proposed such a kitty through the County Wards Development Equalisation Bill, 2018, which has already received a nod from the Senate legal department.
The Senate Majority Deputy Whip, who said his proposal has considered all the required regulations, said the Bill seeks to promote equitable development across the country, through a uniform development kitty for each ward to run specific projects.
According to the Bill, the kitty should consist of at least eight per cent of the share of the annual revenue allocated to the respective county.