March 2021
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MCAs reject Sonko’s memo on Sh37.5 billion Budget

The Nairobi county assembly has rejected Governor Mike Sonko’s memorandum on the Appropriation Bill.

This comes as 88 out of 122 MCAs on Tuesday voted against Sonko’s memorandum reaching the two-thirds majority vote needed to reject the memorandum as per the law.

“The committee of the whole House has considered the reservations by the Governor and overwhelmingly voted to reject them with 88 MCAs voting against it,” said John Kamangu, the chairperson.

The Assembly on October 8 had passed a Sh37.5 billion budget, allocating the Nairobi Metropolitan Service Sh27.1 billion, leaving Sonko’s administration with Sh6.4 billion.

A week later , Sonko refused to assent to the budget citing a deficit and ‘illegal’ allocation of funds to NMS, sending it back to the assembly with amendments.

Governor Sonko refused to sign into law the Nairobi City County Appropriations Bill, 2020 that had been forwarded to him last month referring the bill back to the county assembly.

While rejecting the budget, Sonko recommended the assembly to reduce the budget from Sh37.5 billion to Sh31.6 billion in accordance with the County Fiscal Strategy Paper 2020/2021 and budget estimates that were presented by the Executive.

He argued that the budget presented by the assembly contravened provisions of the Public Finance Management Act 31(c) which provides that the total budgeted revenue and expenditure must be balanced.

The County boss also rejected the allocation of Sh1.6 billion for inspectorate services and transfer of the Sh1.3 billion Ward Development Fund from his office to NMS .

He also said the budget violates article 5.2 and 5.3 of the Deed of Transfer of functions which provides that funding for each transferred function shall be determined by the national government in consultation with the county government.

Sonko had also raised concerns over adjustments made by the assembly to various votes,saying they exceeded the one per cent threshold as provided for in the law.

By rejecting the governor’s memo, the MCAs stuck to the original budget they had passed without any amendment.

Having 122 MCAs, only 82 were required to vote against the memorandum.

The County Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee chairperson Robert Mbatia urged that the rejection of memorandum should not be misconstrued as a battle between the governor and the Assembly.

“The rejection of the governor’s memorandum is a win for Nairobi residents who are in need service delivery,” he said.

Mbatia noted that out of the 88 projects under the Ward Development Fund (WDF), only five were not within the transferred functions.

“The WDF had been illegally transferred to the office of the Governor. By us transferring it to public works , what sin have we done? It is only us trying to facilitate their implementation,” he explained.

While applauding his counterparts, deputy Speaker Geoffrey Majiwa noted that the resolution by the assembly will cushion the county from grinding to a halt.

“Since July, the assembly has been operating on vote on account and would have faced being grounded and also projects coming to a standstill if the stalemate on the budget persisted,” he said.

Minority Whip Peter Imwatok stated that the rejection of the Sonko’s memorandum was due to the positivity and continuity of projects under NMS since the county handed over Key functions to the National Government.

“Since NMS was handed over the key functions of Nairobi, it is clear and evident that development is now reaching city residents even those in the informal settlements. I am happy that MCAs can now align themselves to politics of development,” he said.

As highlighted in the Nairobi County Assembly Standing Orders, Speaker Benson Mutura has only seven days to forward the bill back to Governor Sonko for assent within seven days.

After which the bill becomes law after the next seven days whether Sonko assents to it or not.

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