How Much of Vihiga County’s Revenue Is Spent On Salaries?

Is Governor Wilbur Ottichilo right to claim that 80% of Vihiga’s revenue goes towards paying salaries for county staff?

The newly elected Vihiga County Governor Wilbur Ottichilo claims that eighty percent of Vihiga county revenue goes towards paying salaries for county workers and officials. He says further that due to the bloated wage bill, it leaves the county with very little money for development.

“Almost all the money we receive goes to salaries and we are left with nothing for development. Out of the 4,608 workers we have, 3,746 are permanent while 862 are casuals,” he said.

Furthermore, the Governor also claimed that before devolution, the municipal council responsible for what is now Vihiga County collected an average of Sh377 million, but this amount has dropped to Sh98 million.

This comes amid revelations that 3,000 county workers are at the risk of losing their jobs after the governor requested the Director of Personnel Management (DPM) to conduct a thorough forensic audit of the county staff, and intended downsizing of county workers to 1300 once the DPM findings are submitted to the County Assembly for approval and implementation.

So, how much of Vihiga County’s revenue is being spent on salaries?

PesaCheck finds the claim that Vihiga County spends 80% of its income on salary to be false based on the following facts.

The Controller of Budget Reports shows that the county spent KSh0.99 billion, KSh1.35 billion, KSh1.45 billion, and KSh1.83 billion on personal emoluments (salaries) for the financial years 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively. The table below shows the money spent on salaries against the total revenue available to the county in the same period. The total revenue is inclusive of equitable share, local revenue collected by the county and balance brought forward from the respective previous financial year. The revenue for financial year 2015/16 and 2016/17 is also inclusive of additional funding to counties in form of conditional grants.

The figures spent on personal emoluments figures represent 32.5%, 33.1%, 35.8% and 44.6% respectively of the total revenue from the national government available to Vihiga County for the financial years 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and the third quarter of 2016/17 respectively. This amount is way below the 80% claimed by Governor Ottichilo, which makes his claim that Vihiga County spends 80% of its income on salary to be false.

The Governor’s claim that, before devolution, the municipal council collected an average of Sh377 million, but now we only collects Sh98 million is also false. The data we have on revenue collection from the previous local authority shows it collected KSh54 million in the financial year 2012/13. Since the county government took over from the financial year 2013/14, it has been able to collect KSh123.30 million, KSh115.94 million, KSh138.94 million and KSh96.03 million in the financial years 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.

A look at the trends in revenue collection by the county in the table above shows the county has been setting over-ambitious targets that it has been unable to meet.

Additionally, Vihiga County got KSh80.851 million in the 2016/17 financial year, the same amount as the rest of the 47 counties. Governor Ottichilo had claimed that his county had not received this money, but data shows that the Commission on Revenue Allocation recommended Vihiga County to receive 2.04 per cent of the percentage share of the money that goes to fiscal responsibility in the financial year 2017/18, which adds up to KSh123.22 million.[1]

This allocation is based on the Second Generation Revenue Sharing formula, which is the currently approved basis for the sharing of revenues among county governments from the financial year 2017/18. The formula provides that the parameter on Fiscal Effort be measured at 2% of the total county equitable share.

Thus, Vihiga County Government has been receiving a share of the revenue based on fiscal effort all along from the financial year 2013/14 to the current financial year 2017/18.

This means that both claims by Governor Ottichilo that his county was spending 80% on salaries and that Vihiga did not receive its portion of the Equitable Share are FALSE.

([1] With the county equitable share in the financial year 2017/18 being KSh302 billion, the 2% going towards fiscal responsibility out of the equitable share is KSh6.04 billion, which means Vihiga County will get 2.04% of KSh6.04 billion, which adds up to KSh123.22M)

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This report was written by PesaCheck Fellow George Githinji, a researcher and blogger with interest in devolution and public finance.The infographics are by Benjamin Muisyo, a Kenyan graphic designer and visual artist. The report was edited by PesaCheck Managing Editor Eric Mugendi, with fact-checking support from the International Budget Partnership (Kenya)

PesaCheck, co-founded by Catherine Gicheru and Justin Arenstein, is East Africa’s first fact-checking initiative. It seeks to help the public separate fact from fiction in public pronouncements about the numbers that shape our world, with a special emphasis on pronouncements about public finances that shape government’s delivery of so-called ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ or SDG public services, such as healthcare, rural development and access to water / sanitation. PesaCheck also tests the accuracy of media reportage. To find out more about the project, visit pesacheck.org.

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PesaCheck is a joint initiative of Code for Africa, through its local Code for Kenya chapter, and the International Budget Partnership (Kenya), in partnership with a coalition of local media organisations, with additional support from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).

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