Uhuru’s car dealership promise faces hurdles

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Members of County Assemblies (MCA) will have to wait longer for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Ksh 4.5 billion grant pledge.

It is after the Budget Controller (COB) Margaret Nyakang’o wrote a letter to Wages and Compensation Commission (SRC) CEO Anne Gitau and sought to halt the implementation of the auto subsidy before a few fundamental issues were resolved.

In the letter, Nyakang’o said most counties provided credit for a car, not a subsidy. She pointed out that this is being implemented through legislation passed to create a revolving fund.

The obstacle to this, she stressed, is that these legislation do not provide for the issuance of an automobile subsidy. Additionally, she said most counties merged the auto loan facility into the revolving fund.

Budget Controller Margaret Nyakang’o speaking at a past event.

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“Some counties run a mortgage and auto loan fund for staff and county assembly members. It should be noted that in some counties the kitty is not fully funded,” Nyakang’o said.

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The COB noted that it had divided the county governments’ request to release funds into two categories namely; advice on how to implement the conversion of the auto grant loan facility into a grant and the County Revenue Fund (CRF) withdrawals to fund it.

“The CoB office has received numerous requests from county governments to implement the revised car loan allowance into a transport facilitation benefit in the form of a car subsidy for children. speakers and MCAs, ”she said.

Nyakang’o, in his letter, asked for clarification on how to convert car credit into a car subsidy benefit, with the SRC considering all the issues raised as well as how to deal with the interest reimbursed so far by beneficiaries. .

The CoB office is an independent office, established under Article 228 of the Constitution of Kenya, whose main function is to oversee the implementation of national and county government budgets. In addition, the office exercises oversight by authorizing withdrawals from public funds.

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In early February, SRC president Lyn Mengich approved the MCA automobile subsidy in which Uhuru promised the MCAs an automobile subsidy of Ksh 2 million each.

This amounted to Ksh 4.5 billion, a considerable amount that most considered exorbitant due to the economic crisis. In the letter, Mengich reviewed the benefits of the auto loan as a transportation facilitation benefit in the form of an auto subsidy.

“The conversion of the auto loan facility to an auto subsidy will be undertaken within the limits of the available funds of the Ksh 4.5 billion auto loan facility and will not affect the spending limit,” Mengich said.

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She further noted that the grant was payable to current speakers and members of the county assembly. News of the car dealership approval has drawn mixed reactions, with some questioning the essence of the amount approval at a time when the country faces a global pandemic.

Additionally, other critics and politicians have alleged that the auto subsidy was being used as a bribe to convince MCAs to push through the Bridge Building Initiative (BBI).

Currently, the BBI bill has been passed in 11 counties among them; Nairobi, Vihiga, Laikipia, Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado and Kisii. The Baringo County Assembly is the only county to vote against the bill.

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the national launch of the BBI signature collection exercise.  November 25, 2020.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the national launch of the BBI signature collection exercise. November 25, 2020.

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