Understanding The County Budget Process

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The county Government of Laikipia through the guidance of his Excellency the Governor Ndiritu Muriithi has been in the fore-front in ensuring that the county meets all the legal requirements on the county budget process. A budget is a financial plan that plays a key role in achievement of the vision of the people of Laikipia. The following steps are important in this process
Planning
Involves Identification of priority programs and projects that will be implemented by the County Government within a certain period of time. This is achieved through public participation and stakeholders forums where the public is involved in coming up with areas of investment that will help meet their needs. Plans developed can be strategic 10 year sectoral plans, 5 year (county integrated development plans) or short term plans e.g annual development plans.
Budgeting
Budgeting process involves the identification of the resources that are available for use by the county government for a particular period of time (resource envelop). These are then allocated to various departments (ceilings) based on public inputs and county policy priority actions through a County Fiscal Strategy Policy Paper (cfsp). Debt management strategy paper is also prepared showing how the county will manage its debt, it outlines priorities that will assist in financial risk reduction and allows the County Government to seek long term funding either locally or internationally in order accelerate development programmes. Departments are then required to allocate the funds to the specific programs and projects for approval. This forms the basis of budget implementation (providing services and implementing projects).
Legislative approval
Legislature (the County Assembly) reviews, revises & adopts the budget by passing an appropriation Act a legally binding legislative Act that sets the final spending limits for each sector /department in accordance with the budget.
Implementation (Expenditure)
The Governor authorizes start of the expenditure processes by issuing a general warrant which opens up the flow of funds as per the Legislative act (appropriation).
Expenditure will involve utilization of funds in accordance with the approved plan (budget) by the accounting officer/ fund Administrator to offer the relevant services and implement development programs/projects as approved.
Accounting and financial reporting (Reporting)
This goes hand in hand with implementation where expenditure incurred , outputs and outcomes achieved are captured in reports that are monthly , quarterly, annual or prepared on need basis .
Monitoring and evaluation(M&E)
Monitoring is a continuous assessment of implementation of programmes based on implementation plans.
An evaluation is an examination concerning the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and impact of activities in the light of specified objectives.
As part of the monitoring tools the county prepares a county budget review and outlook paper (CBROP) which reports on budget performance for the previous year and how the same will affect current year budget implementation and future plans.
Public participation
This is an important aspect of the budget process which helps achieve effectiveness and openness. This happens at various stages which include
1. Public and stakeholders forums during planning.
2. Budget/ plans Validation forum by stakeholders.
3. County budget and economic forum engagements.
4. County assembly forums.
5. Web based interactions with members of the public.
6. Media interactions (Radio, TV) and social media.
7. Notice boards, Barazas
Principles of public participation
Timely access to information, data, and documents related to policy formulation and implementation.
Inclusivity- access by all to the process of formulating policies and regulations.
Openness and transparency- available to all and well understood.
Credibility- builds stakeholders confidence and trust.
Responsiveness-to stakeholders requirements.
Relevant-focused on the issues that matter.
Fair-impartial and without bias to all stake holders.
Citizen feed back
Auditing
This involves independent review of implementation the government approved plans by both Internal and external auditors. This ensures that public money is utilized in an efficient and effective way and in accordance with laid down laws and rules. This culminates into achieving value for money.

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