Why Nyeri emerged third nationally on budget transparency

The County Government of Nyeri under the leadership of H.E Governor Mutahi Kahiga has been praised for emerging third top best out of 47 counties during the recently released Kenya County Budget Transparency Survey 2020.

The 64-page survey is contained in an annual report conducted by International Budget Partnership Kenya (IBP). IBP has a long history of working in Kenya on a wide range of budget issues. Their thematic areas are increasing public understanding of and engagement with budgets, and budget transparency. They engage with civil society, media and government at both national and county level. Their work consists of research, technical assistance and training, and advocacy.

The survey evaluates how many key budget documents a county uploads on its website. A total of 11 key budget documents were assessed including; County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), Annual Development Plan (ADP), Approved Programme-Based Budget (PBB), County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP), County Quarterly Budget Implementation Review Report, County Budget Review and Outlook Paper (CBROP), Citizens Budget and Finance Act.

West Pokot County scored position one at 73, Laikipia and Nyeri 71 each while Makueni was ranked fourth with a score of 70.

Nyeri was also recognized among the counties that made the most significant gains by publishing 30 per cent more budget documents in the CBTS 2020 as compared to the CBTS 2019. Other counties recognized for this were Turkana, Machakos, Samburu and Makueni.

The 2020 survey shows a persisting challenge where counties stopped publishing some budget documents they had published during previous surveys. For example, over the last three consecutive CBTS (2018-2020), only five counties: Elgeyo-Marakwet, Laikipia, Kilifi, Nyeri, and Nakuru, have consistently published their Approved Programme-Based Budgets online. Another example: only five counties, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kiambu, Laikipia, and West Pokot, consistently published their quarterly budget implementation reports across all four quarters.

Compared to the OBS 2019, which places Kenya’s national level of budget transparency at 50 out of 100 points, Kenya’s subnational units are lower than that at 33 out of 100 points. Only seven counties – West Pokot, Nyeri, Laikipia, Makueni, Samburu, Turkana, and Elgeyo Marakwet, qualified for the second-highest performance category, scoring B. Most counties fell under the last two categories scoring D and E.

The best-performing documents have a comprehensiveness score of 81 to 100 – where the budget documents provide most of the information assessed based on this year’s questionnaire, presents the information in a clear structure, and makes the document publicly available as required in the law. Only 13 out of 180 (7 per cent) published budget documents scored A (81-100 points). These are the Budget Review and Outlook Paper of Nairobi, Kitui, Kakamega, Kiambu, Makueni counties, the County Integrated Development Plans of Baringo, Embu, Tharaka Nithi counties, the County Fiscal Strategy Papers of Makueni, Kwale, and Muranga counties and the Quarterly Budget Implementation Reports of Baringo and Nyeri counties.

Despite scoring above 70 out of 100 points in the comprehensiveness of expenditure information

assessment in the CBTS 2020, Makueni, West Pokot, and Turkana did not disclose all the essential expenditure information in their County Fiscal Strategy Papers (CFSPs). Elgeyo Marakwet, Nyeri, Samburu, and Isiolo performed exemplarily in disclosing all the essential expenditure information in their CFSPs and can be referenced as best practice models.

Only six out of 34 counties – Makueni, Nyeri, Nyamira, Kwale, Nakuru, and West Pokot – published County Fiscal Strategy Papers (CFSP) provided some information about public participation. Apart from Makueni, Nyamira and West Pokot counties, which provided the information on both questions evaluated on CFSP, the other three counties only provided some information on one question.

Laikipia is the only county that presented substantial non-financial information in the documents it made publicly available and evaluated in the CBTS 2020 and was the only county in the highest performing category of above 61 of 100 points. Be that as it may, Laikipia county did not disclose any non-financial information on the Quarterly Budget Implementation Review Report.

Other counties that performed fairly well include Baringo, Embu, Isiolo, Kwale, Machakos, Nyandarua, and Nyeri. Each scored an average of 60 of 100 points on the five questions used to evaluate the comprehensiveness of non-financial information disclosed by counties in published budget documents.

Only two Counties – Baringo and Nyeri –presented non-financial information in their County Quarterly Budget Implementation Reports (CQBIRs). Baringo County provided the most extensive non-financial information based on the CBTS 2020 evaluation scoring 96 out of 100 points, which was the highest score any budget document attained in this year’s evaluation Nyeri County also provided extensive non-financial information and scored 80 out of 100 points also falling in the highest performing category.

Also only two Counties – Baringo and Nyeri scored A (81-100 points) on the comprehensiveness of CQBIRs, and both provided information on non-financial performance actual achievements in the quarter at the programme and sub programme levels.

Most counties also did not fully link their current fiscal responsibilities with the previous year’s expenditure performance. Only five counties – Kiambu, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, and Tharaka Nithi, presented information on their adherence to fiscal responsibilities set out in the Public Finance Management Act.

Nyeri County was also among the counties that have consistently published Programme-Based Budget (PBBs) in all the last three CBTS (2018-2020). Others are Elgeyo-Marakwet, Laikipia, Kilifi and Nakuru.

Last year, the County Government of Nyeri’s Finance Team was recognized by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) as being in Position One among all counties in Kenya for its adherence to procurement laws and regulations with a 75% success.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *