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The County Government Budget Process in Kenya

The County Government budget process in Kenya is a continuous process. It usually begins officially on 30th August of the current year. The process should end on 30th December of the coming year.

The budget process for county governments in Kenya takes place in several stages. These Stages are formulation, approval, implementation, and audit. For a detailed explanation of these stages, see the key stages in the budget process in Kenya.

This article is also an offshoot of the article above. This article tries to explain the County Government budget process in Kenya separately from the main article. The article above contains the budget process for both the national and the county government.

Do not also forget to look at the sources of revenue for county governments in Kenya.

For a detailed explanation of the documents mentioned in this article, see the key documents essential to the budget process in Kenya. These documents include the budget circular, the budget review and outlook paper, the county fiscal strategy paper and the county budget estimates.

The County Government budget process in Kenya

The whole county government budget process in Kenya is a cycle. Each cycle contains a financial quarter of three months. Thus, there is the:

  • First Quarter that begins from 1st July to 30th September;
  • Second Quarter that begins from 1st October to 31st December;
  • Third Quarter that begins on 1st January to 31st March; and
  • Fourth Quarter that begins from 1st April to 30th June.

Therefore, the county budget process in Kenya takes place in key dates within the stages and quarters above. The dates and what should happen before or within those dates are below.

1st Quarter (1st July to 30th September)

August 30: This date marks the beginning of the County Government budget process in Kenya. On this date, every County Treasury should issue a circular to every county department (health, agriculture, etc.). The circular should contain:

  • the guidelines for the budget process for the coming financial year; and
  • the procedures to follow to involve the public in the budget process (public participation).

The County Treasury (department of finance) for every county should also make the circular available to the public. Usually, this should be through every respective county’s website.

A person can also request for the circular, in writing, preferably from the county assembly through the office of the county speaker.

September 1: On this day, the County Planning Department should table the Annual Development Plan (ADP) in the County Assembly. The department should then make the ADP public within seven days after tabling it before the Assembly for the public input.

There is no specific date in any law (Public Finance Management Act, the Constitution, etc.) by which the County Assembly should approve the ADP.

September 1 to February 15: The County Treasury should conduct sector hearings during this period. The sector hearings allow the public and other stakeholders to give their views at the sectoral level (e.g. security, health, agriculture, education, etc.). These views are necessary to enable the County Treasury to prepare the County Fiscal Strategy Paper.

September 30: The County Treasury should produce the Budget Review and Outlook Paper by this date. It is also the deadline for the County Assembly to consider and approve the Finance Bill for the current financial year (that begins on 1st July). The Assembly should consider and approve the Finance Bill with or without amendments.

2ND QUARTER (1ST OCTOBER-31ST DECEMBER)

This is what should take place in the County Government budget process in Kenya in the second quarter.

October 21:  The County Treasury should table the County Budget Review and Outlook Paper before the County Assembly. This allows the Assembly to discuss the document.

October 31: This is the deadline for County governments to publish their first quarter budget implementation reports. The reports cover the first quarter (the period from 1st July to 30th September) of the current financial year. They should then make the reports public, usually through their respective websites. This is usually the work of the County Treasury.

3RD QUARTER (1ST JANUARY-30TH MARCH)

This is what should take place in the budget process for county governments in Kenya in the third quarter.

January 31: County governments should publish and publicize their 2nd quarter budget implementation reports. The reports cover the period from 1st October to 31st December of the current financial year.

February 28: The County Treasury should table the County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) before the County Assembly by this date.

March 7: This is the deadline for the County Treasury to publish and publicize the Fiscal Strategy Paper after tabling it before the County Assembly.

14 March: The County Assembly should approve the County Fiscal Strategy Paper by this date.

4TH QUARTER (1ST APRIL TO 30TH JUNE)

30th April: This is the deadline for the Counties to publish their third-quarter budget implementation reports for the period of 1st January to 30th March.

The County Treasury should also submit the county budget proposal (or budget estimates) to the County Assembly on this date. Each County Assembly clerk should prepare, and submit to the County Assembly on this date, the budget estimates for the County Assembly. The clerk should submit a copy of the estimates to the County Executive Committee Member for Finance (County Treasury).

May 1 to June 30: Some of the activities that take place during this period have no specific timelines or deadlines.

  • The Budget Committee for the County government will begin to conduct public hearings on the budget proposals or estimates.
  • The County Executive Member for Finance should publicize the county budget estimates ‘as soon as practicable’ after he or she table them before the county assembly.
  • The county assembly should consider the county government budget estimates. The Assembly should then approve the estimates, with or without amendments, in time for the Appropriation Bill and any other laws required to implement the budget (except the Finance Bill) and pass the estimates by 30th June.
  • Not later than twenty-one days after the county assembly has approved the budget estimates, the County Treasury should consolidate the estimates, publish, and publicize them respectively. (Approved Budget)
  • Upon approval of the budget estimates by the County Assembly, the County Executive Member for Finance should prepare and submit an Appropriation Bill of the approved estimates to the County Assembly.

June 30: This is the deadline for the County Assembly to pass the Appropriation Bill.

Conclusion

From June 30th, the budget process for county governments in Kenya for the next year begins afresh from August. You should again expect the Auditor General reports by 30th December to close the cycle for the previous year. Despite that, a new budget cycle or process begins in August going forward.

As stated before, see the linked article on key documents to see more about the documents mentioned in this article.

To show how the process works, a financial year in Kenya begins in July of the current year and ends in June of the coming year. Therefore, much of the budget cycle deals more with the coming financial year which begins in June of the coming year.

The major stages that take place in the budget cycle are formulation and approval (Between August of the current year and June of the next year). The implementation takes place from July of the next year to June of the year after that. The audit should take place thereafter and the audit reports released by 30th December.

Thus, for the current financial year 2018/19, which runs from July 2018 to June 2019, the budget process began in August 2017 and ended on June 2018. Now we are in the implementation phase until June 2019. The audit process should take place thereafter up to December 2019.

I hope this article has helped you to understand the County Government budget process in Kenya. Keep checking it for I shall update it constantly in the future. For more explanation on what else takes place during the whole budget cycle, see the more detailed article, the budget Process in Kenya.

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George Githinji
George Githinji
Githinji is passionate about devolved governance, public finance and cycling. He also comments on topical socio-political issues. In addition, he manages the @UgatuziKenya platform.

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