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Remove the hurdles in Budget controller’s way – Business Daily

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG
If Kenya hopes to tame the theft of public funds by government officials, all agencies must collaborate and remove unnecessary bureaucracy.
Turf wars like the one reported between the office of the Controller of Budget (COB) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) over access to county government accounts should be discouraged.
The two agencies serve Kenyans and none ought to make the other’s work harder.
The Senate of the 12th Parliament rejected the regulations that would have compelled the Treasury and CBK to give the COB access to monitor cash movements into and out of the accounts.
The regulations sought to seal legal loopholes that counties use, for example, to make discriminatory payments to contractors besides lodging fictitious claims.
But even as COB looks to seek approval from the new Senate, the reported souring of relationships over the issue between the two agencies raises concerns.
Allowing COB access to the bank accounts will give it a better view of cash outflows from the Consolidated Fund, Equalisation Fund, County Revenue Fund, and any other public accounts.
It will ensure that accounting officers will not breach set ceilings in the use of public funds. It will also allow it to monitor balances accurately.
COB’s mandate is to oversee the implementation of the budgets of the national and county governments by authorising withdrawal of public funds, and advise Parliament on the transfer of funds to State organs.
This can be done better if it had access to the national Exchequer and county government accounts.

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