Machakos professionals question Mutua on wage bill and airstrip

A screengrab of Machakos professionals letter to Governor Mutua over the ballooning wage bill. (Photo - Mauvoo)

Masaku Professionals Association (MPA) an association of professionals from the 40 wards of Machakos have taken on Governor Dr. Alfred Mutua over the ballooning wage bill that stands at 6 billion in the 2020/2021 Financial year – 54 percent of the budget.

Ballooning Machakos wage bill

“The county government has presided over a constantly ballooning and generally out of control wage bill that continues to violate the Public Finance Management Act of 2015. In our view, the wage bill constitutes the most serious impediment to progress in Machakos by virtue of gobbling up large chunks of revenue that would otherwise normally default to development funding.” The letter by the professionals to the Governor read in part.

According to the professionals Association, warnings by the Controller of Budget and the Auditor General since the 2014/2015 Financial year on the wage bill have not been acted upon.

The Masaku professionals in the letter also took a swipe at the County Assembly of Machakos. During the debate on the Machakos County 2020 fiscal strategy paper in May 2020, MCAs passed a resolution that future budgets must comply with the fiscal responsibility stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act which sets the limit at 35 percent.

2 weeks later, the County Assembly approved an increase of compensation to employees totaling to 500 million in a controversial supplementary budget which attracted much uproar in social media.

“We take cognizance of the County Assembly’s resolution demanding a report on the wage bill be filed before the legislative institution on or before July 28th, 2020 as a measure to address the bloated wage bill. While we consider this measure inadequate, to our knowledge the County Executive under your leadership has not complied with the demand whose deadline has thus far passed by more than 40 days.” The letter went on.

Masaku Professionals in June 2020 presented a memorandum to the County Assembly on the 2020/2021 Financial year budget. In the memorandum, they pointed out the issue of the ballooning wage bill, aerodrome, overestimated local revenue amongst other issues.

Further, the professionals asked to be furnished with total amounts for Machakos wage bill broken down by budget program and job grade, Number of Machakos County Government employees broken down by budget program and by job grade, and by sub-county of residence/ward.

The professional’s body also sought information on the number of workers deployed in public health facilities broken down by facility, job grade, and employment status (casual or permanent), Total amounts paid to statutory deductions such as PAYE, NHIF, and NSSF broken down by budget program and by job grade and reports on staff audit done since 2014.

Feasibility of planned airstrip and suspicion of fraud

In the 2019/2020 Financial Year According to the letter, the executive was allocated 100 million for an Airstrip. However, investigations revealed that 40 million was used on a survey for land that had not been identified.

“Despite the recommendation, your administration’s request for an additional one hundred million shillings for the FY 2020/21 was granted by the County Assembly. We took note that no airstrip or aerodrome was provided for in the FY 2020/21 County Annual Development Plan. “The Masaku professionals letter went on.

MPA demanded a report on the propriety of all expenditure incurred by the
Machakos County Government on airstrips or aerodromes since July 1st, 2013 including a breakdown of such expenditures by budget program, any feasibility studies developed.

The professionals sought a response within 14 days, pointing out that their previous correspondences went unanswered and their issues mostly remained unaddressed.

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