The Office of the Controller of Budget was created by the constitution to oversee the implementation of the budgets of the national and county governments. Every 4 months the office of the Controller is required to submit to each House of Parliament a report on the implementation of the budgets of the national and county governments.
According to the Office of the Controller of Budget’s latest report, released on Friday 18th May 2012, the third quarter 2011/2012 Budgetary Review Implementation Report key government departments and Ministries have failed to spend billions of shillings earmarked for development purposes.
The report states that nine months into the fiscal year key government agencies have spent less than half of their development budget allocations. “Only 510.5 billion shillings or 44% of the total annual development and recurrent expenditure has been spent 9 months into the financial year –against a target of 75%.” The implication of course is that a major portion of the funds meant for development will remain unspent by the end of the year.
It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that idle resources in terms of unspent billions and such high levels of ‘un-expenditure’ in the area of development is detrimental to the country’s growth. It also means that Kenyans are not getting what they deserve/pay for with their tax shillings as far as provision of infrastructure, health care, roads, education, energy etc is concerned.
Ironically the most glaring cases of under-spending in terms of development are in the government departments/ministries where one would be justified in expecting high levels of expenditure on development – The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Higher Education, the Ministry of Planning, the Labour Ministry and the Public Service Commission.
The fact that all the above have used less than 8% of the funds at the their disposal only three months to the close of the financial year in June is worrying considering that some of the departments/ministries listed by the report as ‘under spenders’ are key in fighting corruption, implementing the constitution, and dealing with the situation of understaffing/and low salaries in the health care and education sectors in which we’ve seen numerous strikes.
So how is it that in a country, where needs are many and funds are available that key government departments/ministries can fail to spend a large part of the funds meant for development, what is missing? Is it lack of capacity; is it gross inefficiency or lack of accountability or planning?