CPA, Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o responds to questions from members of the 4th estate accompanied by Nakuru County Deputy Governor, H.E. Hon David Kones (right) and the Deputy Controller of Budget CPA Stephen Masha (left)
A key mandate of the Office of the Controller of Budget (OCoB) under Section 39(8) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 and Article 35 of the Constitution, is to ensure that the public has access to information and participates in a democratic manner in the development and execution of budgets.
As part of the efforts to fulfill this mandate, OCoB held a remarkable and colorful Public Participation Forum at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru on October 18th, 2023. Participants representing diverse stakeholder groups, including the business community, co-operative societies, the youth, women, and persons living with disabilities (PWDs), trade unions, minority and marginalized communities, as well as the elderly from Nakuru, Baringo, Kericho, Laikipia, and Nyandarua Counties came together to participate in this grand event. The ceremony was graced by the Nakuru County Deputy Governor, H.E. Hon David Kones
Seated (Front 4th Left) CPA, Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o pose for a photo with the participants during the Public Participation Forum in Nakuru County
The forum was conducted through presentations by OCoB staff, plenary sessions as well as open-interactive sessions where the participants actively engaged OCoB presenters with questions, views, and suggestions. The forum was aimed at explaining the mandate of the Office of the Controller of Budget, sensitizing the public on their role in the budget-making process, and encouraging public participation in budget formulation and monitoring.
In her opening remarks, the Controller of Budget, Dr. Margaret Nyakang’o, highlighted the significance of the Forum saying that it was a platform for citizens to actively participate in their county governments’ affairs, particularly the process of budget formulation and execution. She emphasized that the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, empowers the citizens to participate in a democratic manner in all matters that affect them.
“The forum is meant to promote the visibility of the Office and popularise its functions. We have therefore brought the Office nearer to you!” Dr Nyakang’o remarked.
The Controller of Budget said that she was optimistic that the forum would provide the participants with the grounding and the necessary impetus, as our key stakeholders and partners, to participate in budget implementation through involvement in its formulation. She also anticipated that they would be actively involved in identifying priorities and participate in the process of identifying the location of projects and their individual timelines in their respective areas of residence.
She further explained the significance of public participation, explaining that it was a key pillar of the provision in Article 201(a) of the Constitution. She elaborated the primary objective of the Public Participation Forum as a platform where stakeholders, including county government officials, civil society organizations, citizens, and civil society organizations, actively participated in discussions, sharing insights, and contributing toward the improvement of OCoB’s oversight functions.
Dr Nyakang’o expressed her gratitude to the participants and noted the diversity of the stakeholder groups represented in the Forum. She said that it truly captured the spirit of the Constitution that all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya.
The presentations were very educative and were categorized into four key themes: sensitizing the public on the Mandate and the Role of OCoB in Budget Implementation, role of the Public in Monitoring and Evaluation, the legal framework for public participation in the budgeting process, and role of the Public in Social Audit. These sessions sparked dynamic interactions and discussions among the participants.
In her closing remarks, the Controller of Budget encouraged participants to carry the knowledge gained back to their respective counties, emphasizing the importance of prudent financial management and accountability. She expressed the hope that this newfound knowledge would enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public fund management in their areas.
She expressed gratitude to all who made the forum possible, including the organizing team and the hospitable people of Nakuru. The event was a mark of the office’s commitment to active engagement with the public and its recognition of the power of the public in the management of public funds.