The Constitution of Kenya 2010 introduced a devolved system of government to enhance service delivery and to improve the socio-economic condition of people in remote locations.
Devolution of functions entailed the devolution of resources, with the devolved units – County Governments – being given the mandate to plan, budget and allocate resources for the betterment of the lives of all sections of the County’s populace.
The planning and budgeting framework was entrenched in the Constitution itself and further elaborated in County Government Act 2012 as well as the Public Finance and Management Act 2012.
This aim of this report was to analyse the planning and budgeting processes of the County Government of Kwale to determine whether it has substantively been undertaken in accordance with the legal framework, especially in relation to public participation and in the recognition and programming to meet the needs of vulnerable and marginalised populations. The main focus groups of the report were the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti.The report found that the County Government has made efforts to plan for the development of the County, developing the County Integrated Plan 2013-2017 and Annual Development Plans in 2015 and 2016.
The priority areas in the development framework are: health, education, agriculture and rural development and water infrastructure. On the budgeting front, the County is still reliant on the National Government for resources, with the local revenue collection having improved slightly between 2013 and 2017. Further, the County Government has still yet to receive from the National Government royalty remittances from titanium mining in Nguluku by Base Titanium as per the 70/20/10 criteria entrenched in the Mining Act 2016. The result of this failure is the inability of the County Government to plan effectively and budget appropriately to tackle the dire socio-economic conditions of the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti.
The majority of the County Government resources are allocated to health and education, but the allocation to water and agriculture are paltry in comparative perspective. In the different priority areas, the intention of the County has been to prioritize allocations for development purposes, but budgetary revisions for each year has entailed the reduction of development budgeting to plug revenue gaps in recurrent expenditure allocations, to the detriment of important developmental goals.
The recommendations are that the County Government of Kwale should strive to allocate and retain more resources for development, to ensure that the socio-economic infrastructure is improved for the benefit of the people of Kwale, especially the vulnerable and marginalized groups like the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti. Budgeting in Kwale County and its impact on the realization of socio-economic rights6On public participation, the report found that the County has not effectively entrenched public participation in the budgeting process, especially for vulnerable and marginalized groups such as the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti. As a result, the perception of these communities is that the County planning and budgeting processes have not taken into account their immediate needs and priorities.
The truth of the statement is seen in the poor socio-economic state that these communities continue to live in, with basic services such as education, health, water, food security, roads, and employment being mostly inaccessible. The report proposes that in order to deal effectively with the socio-economic situation of these vulnerable groups, the County Government of Kwale must recognize their vulnerability and marginality. Subsequent to that recognition of vulnerability, the County Government should develop specific and targeted plans and programs to respond to the dire socio-economic situation of these groups as well as prioritize the allocation of resources to implement these programs. This targeted programming and allocation of resources will ameliorate the dire socio-economic situation of the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti, improving their living standards.