The Mombasa government has lost about Sh2 billion in revenue since the standard gauge railway started operating in 2017, reducing funding of key projects.
That’s what Governor Hassan Joho on Tuesday told a Senate committee questioning him on stalled projects, unsupported expenditures and pending bills.
The Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee had summoned the county boss to respond to audit queries flagged by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in 2018-19.
According to the report, mega projects worth millions of shilling initiated by the county government are behind schedule.
They include the construction of early childhood development centres, hospitals and road projects.
The report shows that in 2014-15, the county started building eight classrooms for Sh214.17 million.
The projects were expected to be completed within 32 weeks, in December 2015.
“However, only six ECDEs had been completed while the remaining two were at different stages of completion at the time of the audit in October 2019,” the audit report read.
Likewise, the county had not completed the construction of five subcounty hospitals for Sh6.18 million, four years after the set completion date.
The report also said out of the 280 projects worth Sh4.14 billion rolled out by the county government since its inception, only 148 have been completed.
Some 127 projects worth Sh3.32 billion have been partially completed, while five projects worth Sh23.50 million have not started.
In response, Governor Joho cited revenue shortfalls caused by SGR operations and failure by the national government to devolve key revenue generators, such as Kenya Ferry Services, the Kenya Ports Authority and Port Health Services.
Mombasa Finance executive Maryam Mbaruk said the county’s own source revenue has suffered from the SGR, which takes cargo facilities and transport away from most trucking services.
Many logistical and key firms — revenue contributors — have relocated to Nairobi and Naivasha where the Inland Container Depot has been established away from the port.
“Every year, there are certain targets that we set. But because of the SGR operations, a number of sub-sectors within the logistics sector have closed shop,” she said.
“We have lost between Sh1 billion and Sh2 billion in the course of 2018-19 to date. And this is going to increase if no measures are taken for the county to be able to gain out of the SGR operations,” she said.