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Taxpayers will foot Sh108 million more than 47 county assemblies contribute from their budgets annually to the MCAs special kitty.

This follows the decision to raise each assembly’s contribution to Sh5 million from Sh2.7 million to the County Assemblies Forum(CAF).

CAF operates like the Council of Governors and champions for issues evolving around the running of county assemblies. 

The latest move means the contribution drawn from the 47 county assemblies budget to CAF kitty will rise to Sh235 million from Sh126.9 million.

“The resolution for every county assembly to remit Sh5 million was made in April when we held the legislative summit in Mombasa,” CAF secretary general Eric Mwangi said on Thursday.

Mwangi – a Nyeri MCA, confirmed to Star the assemblies will start remitting their contributions this financial year. This will be despite the cash crunch facing the country.

The cash crunch has forced Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich, through the draft 2018 Budget Review and Outlook Paper, to alert counties that their 2019-20 financial year budget will be decreased by 0.4 per cent.

This means counties will receive less than the Sh314 billion of equitable share from the national government they received in the current 2018-19 budget.

In the previous six financial years, their allocations have always been increased.

The proposal to slash the counties allocations in the next financial year, according to Rotich, is part of the government’s measures realize a 1.2 per cent decline in expenditures from domestic income.

“This is the first year we are going to collect this amount of money. Assemblies have not started subscribing because counties have no money,” CAF secretary general said.

The money is used to finance CAF’s daily, quarterly and annually meetings and paying rent worth Sh900,000 per quarter for its secretariat at Flamingo Towers in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.

“We have nine staff at the secretariat, whom we pay salaries; and three interns who are also paid for their work,” Mwangi said.

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He disclosed that funds from the kitty will also be used to finance the newly launched annual Inter-County Assemblies Sports Association festival games.

MCAs earlier resolved to divorce from the annual Kenya Inter-County Sports and Cultural Association and County Assemblies Sports Association (KICOSCA) that includes county executives.

“We are organising more activities for MCAs to perform their legislative role well and hold county executive accountable,” Mwangi said.

“Every week, we are having trainings for MCAs on how to conduct themselves properly. We are also doing cluster meetings since challenges various members face across the country are not the same.”

The CAF kitty is not legally recognised to be funded by National Treasury like the council of governors body although efforts are being made for it to be anchored in law.

Auditor General Edward Ouko told the Star on Thursday that his office has not audited the CAF kitty “because the funds are being opened day and night.”

“Senate should regulate the opening of these funds to have them follow certain criteria. There are a lot of problems there and Senate has to limit the creation of such funds,” he said.

Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee chair Moses Kajwang asked Ouko to audit the activities that CAF finances on grounds the House has never received any audit report on expenditures from the kitty.

“We don’t want to create another cash cow. If the 47 county assemblies are contributing Sh5 million each, that must be supported by a schedule of activities and must confirm that there is value for money,” Kajwang said.

The Homa Bay Senator proposed that CAF funding be drawn from allocations to counties by the state and not the exchequer to sustain the assemblies’ ‘voice’.

“If you make it (funding) a national government contribution then there will be issues of command and control because who pays the piper calls the tune,” Kajwang said.

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