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The Role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya

The role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya is crucial in public finances. It is one of the mechanisms that enhance accountability in the expenditure of public resources.

The office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya is an independent office. The other independent office is the office of the Auditor General in Kenya. Article 228 of the Kenyan Constitution establishes the office. The Office of the Controller of Budget (OCOB) oversees the implementation of the national and county government budgets.

The office exercises the oversight by authorizing withdrawals from public funds.

The holder of the Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya is entitled the Controller of Budget. The person serves for a non-renewable term of eight years. They are not eligible for re-appointment thereafter.

The president nominates the person to hold the office. However, the National Assembly must approve the person before the president appoints them. The person should have extensive knowledge of public finance or 10 years in auditing public finance management.

Role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya

The role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya is as follows:-

Oversight role

The office oversees the way the national and the county governments implement their budgets. It plays this role through the controlling role.

Controlling role

The role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya on oversight is through control. Through the controlling role, the office authorizes withdrawals from public funds. The Constitution talks more about these funds;

  • Equalization Fund (Article 204 of Kenyan Constitution);
  • Consolidated Fund (Article 206); and
  • the County Revenue Fund (Article 207).

The law allows the Controller of Budget to reject any withdrawal from any public fund. This is especially if the Controller of Budget lacks the satisfaction that the law authorizes such a withdrawal.

Reporting role

The law requires the Controller of Budget to submit quarterly budget implementation reports to parliament. These reports relate to how the national and the county governments spend their budgets.

The Controller of Budget submits the quarterly budget implementation reports to both the Senate and the National Assembly.

They are quarterly reports because the Controller of Budget should submit them every four months.

The Office of the Controller of Budget also prepares annual reports and special reports. These reports also relate to how the national and the county governments implement their budgets. The office submits these reports to parliament and the national executive.

Advisory role

This role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya involves providing an advisory opinion to parliament on financial matters. This is in cases where a Cabinet Secretary halts the transfer of funds to a certain state organ or public entity.

Investigation Role

The Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya may initiate investigations as an independent office.

The investigation may be its own initiative or upon receiving a complaint from a member of the public.

Article 252(1) (a) of the Constitution guarantees these powers to the office.

Arbitration or Mediation role

The Office of the Controller of Budget has the powers necessary for conciliation, mediation, and negotiation.

These powers are under Article 252 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

Public Sensitization role

This is a key role of the Controller of Budget in Kenya.

The Office of the Controller of Budget disseminates information on budget implementation by both the national government and the county governments.

By publicizing the budget implementation reports, the office facilitates public participation. The office uploads most of the reports on its official website for easier public access. [td_smart_list_end]

Removal of the Controller of Budget from office

The holder of the Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya can leave office within the grounds found in Article 251 of the Constitution. These grounds are-

  • serious violation of the Constitution or any other law. This includes a contravention of Chapter Six (on Leadership and Integrity),
  • gross misconduct, whether in the performance of their functions or otherwise,
  • physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office,
  • incompetence, or
  • bankruptcy.

The Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya is key

The Office of the Controller of Budget is vital in ensuring fiscal transparency and accountability. It promotes fiscal responsibility and checks and balances in public financial management.

The quarterly and annual budget implementation reports that the office provides are vital. They are essential to determine whether public officials spend public money efficiently and effectively.

The reports are especially essential for public participation. Legislators, policymakers, and the public use them to find out if the national and the county governments meet their priorities in budget implementation. These stakeholders also use the reports to interrogate the use of public resources.

The Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya publishes quarterly budget implementation reports that most county governments do not provide. The Public Finance Management (PFM) Act mandates county governments to provide these reports. They should then submit them to the county assemblies and publicize them. However, most counties do not do that in violation of the law.

Finally, the Office of the Controller of Budget in Kenya identifies challenges in budget execution and provides essential recommendations to improve public financial management. These recommendations are often in the budget implementation reports, advisories and other special reports. For example, it continuously raises challenges the county governments face in raising local revenue and how to address the challenges.

George Githinji
George Githinji
Githinji is passionate about devolved governance and public finance. He also comments on topical issues in Kenyan politics and society. In addition, he manages the @UgatuziKenya platform.

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1 COMMENT

  1. These offices are to act as watchdogs, lest they are corrupted, we can never find a genuine office to look into matters of corruption. Kenya is a difficult country to stay and live in. I am ashamed to notice that the rich want to steal more. Where are they taking us for sure? In paradise or in hell?

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