County Peer Learning On Public Finance Management
• Tuesday Nov 05, 2019 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Public Finance Management (PFM) involves resource mobilisation and expenditure management. Since Kenya adopted devolution seven/nine years ago, county governments have made considerable effort to strengthen their internal PFM systems in line with the PFM Act, 2012 and the Constitution. These efforts are geared towards enabling counties to meet their development agenda and other county needs as well as to perform the devolved functions allocated to them.
Institutions such as the Office of the Auditor General and the Office of the Controller of Budget, development partners as well as higher institutions of learning, have over the years helped to build PFM capacity in county governments.
Out of the 47 counties, Makueni and Nyandarua counties made history in the 2017/2018 financial year by becoming the first counties to ever earn unqualified audit reports (for County Executive), while Kericho County was the first to earn an unqualified audit report for the County Assembly. Unfortunately some counties interpreted qualified audit reports to mean clean reports. This could point to a lack of participation and understanding of the role and structure of the audit process, and the implications the OAG’s report.
Audit reports give an independent evaluation of whether counties exercised prudence in their use of public resources and whether the public got value for money. In addition, the audit looks into the internal financial controls in the counties and whether there are sufficient safeguards in place to protect public resources. The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is required by law to produce audit reports within six months after the end of each financial year. A robust internal audit department helps Counties to ensure strong internal controls that protect public resources from misuse, and proper utilization of county resources.
In this regard, the Council of Governors, with the support of the World Bank has organized a peer-learning and experience-sharing mission to Nyandarua County on Public Finance Management: what it takes for a county to get a clean audit report from the Auditor General. The purpose of the mission is for county technical directors to share experiences, lessons and best practices and explore ways of strengthening PFM, specifically in audit. The learning will also draw from two other complementary processes for improving PFM in Counties, namely the World-Bank supported Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessment that covered 6 Counties1 and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative that is anchored at the Office of the Deputy President.