Frequently Asked Questions
You should participate in the public presentation of the Budget because it is a Constitutional requirement. It is also through such forums that citizens give their consent to a County Government to tax them in order to raise the required revenue and to incur expenses for each financial year.
The Budget-making process must, therefore, involve as many interested parties as possible, including citizens.
We monitor to achieve the following goals;
• Improve performance
• Enhance ownership and stakeholder performance
• Achieve evidence based policy and make decisions
• Help formulate and justify budget requests through allocation of resources
• Promote credibility and public confidence
• Support capacity development
• Help keep projects and programs on track.
• Assessing capacity and learning tools
• Help improve quality of projects and programs
• Identify what works well, what does not and the reason why
You need to understand the budget because it is very important to you as a citizen as it is a planning, economic, political and social document.
As an economic document, the Budget allocates scarce resources. As a planning tool, it assists in drawing future activities in advance of time (forecasting). As a political document, the Budget determines who gets how much of the
available but scarce resources, and by when.
And as a social document, it is able to distribute benefits and costs according to community needs
The reasons we must have a Budget are:
- it is required by law and provides financial control
- it allocates limited resources to provide services to the citizens
- it is a form of communication to citizens on the purpose and intent of Government
- it stimulates an analysis of the fundamental purposes of spending
- the entire planning and control processes of many Governments are built around budgets
- the process of developing it enables a county to consider its goals and objectives, and specific means of achieving them
- it impacts on all citizens’ welfare once the measures in it take effect
- the amount of money allocated for various projects reflects the priorities of the National and County Governments.
The Budget is, therefore, so important that it cannot be left to individual politicians or County Government officials or a few interest groups with privileged access.
During public hearings on the Budget, the County Executive presents Budget estimates, and comments are invited from participants. The suggestions from the public may be used to improve the Budget. This should ideally result in the adjustment of expenditure ceilings or allocations set by the Executive.
After the public hearings, views are consolidated and a Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) printed and submitted to the County Assembly for discussion and approval.
Based on the approved BSP, the County Executive Member for Finance issues a circular to departments to prepare a detailed and itemised Budget based on the ceilings set by the BSP.
The following issues may be monitored:
1. Policies, Procedures and Legal frameworks
2. Strategies e.g. stakeholder participation
4. Financial Monitoring
5. Institutional Capacity
6. Governance and leadership
The Budget performs five key functions in a County.
Allocation function: The Budget guides the development process in the County through resource allocation.
Distribution function: The Budget ensures balanced distribution of the County’s resources and that wealth is realised through identification of sectors that need renewed focus and affirmative action.
Stabilization function: The Budget helps to attain and maintain a desired level of economic performance in the County. There are some desired levels of stability that citizens require.
Fiscal transparency: The Budget ensures transparency, especially in the manner in which public expenditure is managed. Public information provides a clear reflection of the Government’s expenditure priorities. It, therefore, forms a basis through which citizens can challenge the County Executive over its stated policies and public announcements.
Control function: Budgets are useful because they provide a basis for evaluating performance. Performance evaluation is carried out by comparing actual performance with planned or budgeted performance. The causes of significant deviations from planned performance can then be identified.
Recurrent expenditure consists of regular expenses that go into the running of the County. These include salaries and allowances paid to County employees; operational costs such as travelling and accommodation, telephone, electricity and water bills; maintenance costs incurred on equipment, buildings and installations; as well as funding for costs incurred to cover compulsory obligations such as bank charges, interest on official debt, remuneration costs and other services
Monitoring is an on going process by citizens, and other stakeholders in which they obtain regular feedback on progress being made towards achieving the goals and objectives of certain projects to their satisfaction.
It is a learning process, which entails determination of progress of projects/programs where they learn lessons on the best practice for future use.
Development expenditure plays a pivotal role in the growth of your County. This expenditure relates to costs incurred in order to create assets that will provide long-term public goods, including roads, hospitals, schools and airports. Such expenditure tends to cover the construction of buildings, both residential and for office purposes; purchase of durable and longterm equipment, such as power generators and telecommunications equipment; establishment of water/sewer treatment plants, stadiums, recreational facilities and historical monuments, and installation of information technology equipment and other long-term equipment.
A budget is a financial plan that outlines the sources of funds and how such funds are to be spent. It is a plan of expenditure and revenue, expressed in monetary terms and covering a specific period of time, usually one year.
It is a systematic process of setting financial goals. It forecasts, monitors and controls income and expenditure, and evaluates progress made towards achieving financial goals.
The Budget must contain two main kinds of information
– how the Government intends to source for revenue, and
– how it expects to spend that revenue.
You can check the activities, achievements, objectives, results or purposes of a project, as well as its impact on the lives of the people and completeness of the whole process
The key policy documents that the County budget
is linked to are;
- Vision 2030
- County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP)
- County Budget Review Outlook Paper (CBROP)
- County Annual Development Plans
- County Budget Policy Statement, and
- County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP)
The correct number for the national transfer to each county is contained in the annual County Allocation of Revenue Act. In 2013/14, this information was contained in the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) 2013.
The law requires that public finances are managed in accordance with the principles of fiscal responsibility, which state that a minimum of thirty per cent of the County Government’s budget be allocated to development expenditure.
This implies that a maximum of seventy percent of the County Government budget shall be allocated to recurrent expenditure.
When we talk about priority areas, we generally mean the sectors that have received the highest allocations (most money). This is one way of understanding choices and relative priorities.
However, not all areas are equally expensive. For example, if one consideres international benchmarking for different sectors, education is usually more expensive than health, health more expensive than agriculture, and agriculture more expensive than water.
It does not follow that spending more on health than water means health is more a priority than water.
The preparation of a Budget involves many parties, a number of laws, rules and several procedures. In a County budget, the Executive Member in charge of Finance requests the County Assembly to raise the estimated revenue and to incur the approved expenditure for a given financial year.
Through the budget cycle, a County Government demonstrates its commitment to pursue policy pronouncements through revenue collection and prioritised expenditure by outlining both its spending and revenue-raising measures
First, a County receives equitable share of at least 15 per cent of ordinary revenue raised by the National Government, which is deposited into the Consolidated Fund. The Controller of Budget is mandated by the Constitution under Article 206 (4) to ensure that this fund is utilised in accordance with the Law.
This money is paid into each County Government’s Revenue Fund,which is where all money raised or received by or on behalf of the County Government, including money raised from property rates, entertainment taxes, levies, fees or charges, is also paid into.
The Controller of Budget has the mandate and power under the Constitution to approve any withdrawal from the County Revenue Fund. The Equalization Fund, equivalent to one half per cent (0.5%) of all revenue collected by the National Government each year calculated on the basis of the most recent audited accounts of revenue approved by the National Assembly, is paid to selected marginalised counties.
This fund is used to provide basic services, including water, roads, health facilities and electricity in marginalised areas so as to bring the quality of these services in these areas to the level generally enjoyed by the rest of the nation. The County Goverments also receive revenue from loans, grants and profits from trading activities.
You check the project by observing whether resources are being used prudently, by assessing whether activities are being carried out properly, and by ascertaining whether the management style is appropriate.
Citizens should physically visit the project and ask those working on it any questions they feel are unanswered, such as those on procurement of materials, treatment of workers, recruitment of labour and progress towards completion date
You check on utilization of funds through regular observation and recording of changes taking place in a project or programme that is budgeted for. This is the process of routinely and continuously gathering information on all aspects of the project.
This involves taking a critical look at the progress in a project in order to follow its development, and then providing feedback to the implementers and beneficiaries of the project.
The reports from the feedback can be used to make decisions that would improve utilisation
Yes. It is your right as a citizen to know how public funds have been utilised. In recognition of this, the Constitution provides for public participation in Budget formulation and implementation.
The public should check to ensure that the Government is undertaking the activities outlined in the Budget.
Where there is a failure by the Government in this respect, the public should inform the relevant authorities, which include Parliament, the Kenya National Audit Office, the Office of the Controller of Budget and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission among other oversight institutions to take appropriate action.
Yes. A County can only spend money on those functions that have been devolved, which include agriculture, County health services, trade and development regulations, and pollution control, among other devolved functions.
Citizens can consult the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution to determine which functions counties are responsible for, and which National Government is responsible for, then see if the County Budget is aligned with County functions.