Many county governments spent Covid-19 funds on non-essentials instead of channelling the cash towards key interventions to curb the spread of the virus, a new report has revealed.
The budget implementation review report by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o shows counties spent Sh4.77 billion on Covid-19 mitigation measures in nine months of 2020-21.
A huge chunk of the cash was splurged on items such as payment of water and electricity bills, travel, fuel, lubricants, allowances, advertising and hospitality.
Some of the money was spent on maintenance of motor vehicles, purchase of airtime and body bags and renovations of health facilities.
The total expenditure, however, excludes nine counties that did not make any disclosures on the budgetary allocation towards fighting the pandemic.
The nine are Homa Bay, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kilifi, Machakos, Mandera, Nyamira and Nairobi.
Ten others only gave aggregate allocations without disclosing particular items they acquired.
They are Elgeyo Marakwet, which disclosed an expenditure of Sh39.19 million, Embu declared Sh177.75 million and Kiambu which spent Sh385.34 billion on Covid-19 fight in nine months without breaking down the expenditure.
Others are Kisumu (Sh217.40 million), Lamu (Sh34.14 million), Makueni (Sh100.42 million), Nakuru (Sh207.05 million), Narok (Sh194.25 million) and Tana River (Sh28.43 million).
The report released by Nyakango’s office last week shows that in Kericho, Governor Paul Chepkwony’s administration spent Sh6.19 million on electricity and water bills.
The county spent Sh357,000 on purchasing body bags and Sh730,000 on installation of TV sets out of the Sh84.35 million it spent on Covid-19 between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
In Migori, Governor Okoth Obado’s administration used Sh24.04 million on travel and accommodation, Sh2 million on fuel, Sh1.13 million on food and Sh312.96 on advertising.
“In the approved budget for 2020-21, the county provided Sh89.41 million to cater for Covid-19 related expenditure while Sh201.24 million was brought forward from 2019-20. During the reporting period, the county spent Sh201.24 million,” the report says.
In Kisii, the county government spent Sh114.34 million in nine months, with food taking Sh5 million and Sh26.38 million going towards renovation of health facilities.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu’s administration spent in excess of Sh2 million on training of youth in what is captured in the report as ‘basic education’, Sh498,167 on water works and Sh3.99 million on ‘clearance’ at Manyonyeni training centre – ‘basic education’
Another Sh1.98 million was incurred on the supply of building materials for Manyonyeni training centre and Sh3.79 million on supply of ‘block machine’ out of the total expenditure of Sh375.42 million.
In Kwale, Governor Salim Mvurya’s government spent Sh57.66 million on Covid-19 measures in nine months.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s government spent Sh126.09 million.
Of the amount, Sh21.45 million went towards accommodation for Meru county staff handling the virus, Sh3.26 million for electrification and painting of Igoji isolation centre and Sh1.90 million for renovation of the centre.
In Mombasa, the county spent Sh79.66 million out of the Sh142.10 million disbursed to it on the purchase of foodstuff.
In Murang’a, the county spent Sh4.85 million on food, Sh1.79 million on health workers accommodation and Sh1.37 million on allowances, educators and technical staff.
“In the approved budget for 2020-21, the county provided Sh51.06 million to cater for Covid-19 related expenditure. A total of Sh46.91 million was spent during the reporting period,” the report says.
In Nairobi, the county did not disclose any expenditures on Covid-19, but records provided to the office of the Controller of Budget showed Sh47.60 million was brought forward from 2019-20.
It comprised Sh17.61 million grant from Danida and Sh30 million for Kenya Devolution Support Project. The county did not report.