President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks when he commissioned the Nairobi Metropolitan Service at State House, March 18, 2020. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks when he commissioned the Nairobi Metropolitan Service at State House, March 18, 2020. /PSCU

By Reporter

The Nairobi Metropolitan Services is faced with a headache of unlocking funds allocated to the city county.

Parliament’s Budget and Appropriations Committee says this is because the county functions were transferred to the national government mid financial year 2019-20.

In a first since devolution began, Governor Mike Sonko on February 25 handed over four key functions to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.

The governor was barred from office over a Sh357 million graft case, hence the move. 

On Wednesday, the President put Air Force general Mohamed Badi in charge of the health, transport, planning and development services.

He will also oversee the county public works, utilities and ancillary services, a budget of about Sh15.9 billion as per plans for 2020-21.

But Budget Committee chairman Kimani Ichung’wa says it would not be a smooth sail to isolate the funds – a formula is being discussed at the Treasury.

“This is because we had already allocated money to Nairobi County which was appropriated by the county assembly into the functions of the government,” the Kikuyu MP said.

In his sentiments on the Division of Revenue Bill passed by MPs on Tuesday, the MP said the Treasury and Nairobi Executive must propose amendments to the Appropriation Bill.

“Since the functions have been transferred, we expect the amendments to come in Supplementary Two after the recess.”

Freeing allocations in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2020, is yet another puzzle, with MPs raising concerns of lack of clarity on how the Nairobi cash would be accounted for.

Suba South MP John Mbadi raised the red flag that “how money is going to be spent is yet to come out clearly.”

An opportunity for the National Treasury to clarify the situation to the committee was lost on Tuesday.

The Minority Leader says the Treasury must be held to account to explain how the allocation for the transferred functions will be overseen by Parliament.

“The funds for those functions will now go back to the national government. Once that happens, how are those funds supposed to be overseen?

“Maybe, the National Assembly will have to oversee it because the Senate cannot oversee funds that are being spent by the national government,” Mbadi said.

“Whether those functions were devolved functions or otherwise, what the Constitution talks about is money allocated to the national government.”

The committee wants the equitable share for Nairobi City set aside and arrangements put in place to fund the transferred functions.

“If we are to create a special purpose account under the national government, maybe, under the Ministry of Devolution, it will be important for us to determine how that money will be accounted for,” Ichung’wa said.

The puzzle of who will be overseeing that money comes in the face of the impossibility of the Nairobi county assembly overseeing money appropriated from the National Assembly.

“Or is it the Senate that will oversee the money that is being utilised by the national government to deliver functions at the county level?” Ichung’wa asked.

Majority leader Aden Duale says the challenge will be solved when the County Allocation Revenue Bill is introduced.

“When the Bill comes, we want those resources ring-fenced and given to the NMS, at least by then the money allocated to Nairobi will be shown,” the Garissa Township said.

Nairobi county has undergone unprecedented changes, with Kenya Revenue Authority taking over collections.

This is the reason it is unclear which of the two Houses would oversight the city’s cash