Dec 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Treasury on the spot over ‘idle’ Covid-19 cash

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has blamed the Treasury for failing to use 9.7 billion shillings collected from the public to address the effects of the Covid-19 -pandemic.

The latest revelations about the National Treasury’s failure to spend the cash resulting from Covid-19 are included in the Auditor-General’s report on the Treasury Department’s accounts for the financial year 2020/21 submitted to Parliament.

The audit report notes that although the fund has existed since the pandemic was first reported in the country on March 13, 2020, no expenditure of accumulated funds has occurred since inception.

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This applies notwithstanding the fact that the fund was created, ched to mitigate the impact of the pandemic at a time when the country’s resources were being stretched.

“Under the circumstances, the Fund’s objective is to mitigate the impact of the Covid -19 pandemic was not achieved as intended,” the report said.

“The funds have not achieved value for money as the resources go unused while citizens suffer the scourge.”

A special audit report from the Auditor-General on the use of Covid-19 funds by national government agencies for the period from March 13, 2020 to July 31, 2020 shows the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury established the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.

Money not spent

Although the report as at 30 June 2021 showed Sh9.7 billion as unspent money, the special audit shows that the Four bank accounts operated by the National Treasury had a closing balance of Sh9.86 billion as of July 31, 2020.

The four bank accounts opened by the National Treasury related to the Covid-19 -Emergency fund had the Chief Secretary of the National Treasury, Dr. Julius Muia, the sole signatory.

These include three separate accounts opened with the Central Bank of Kenya Shillings 288.75 million were donations from well-wishers, Shillings 9.39 billion shillings, which included donations from the country’s investigative and law enforcement agencies, and shillings 179.21 million in voluntary pay cuts from various state officials, including the president, his deputy and cabinet secretaries.

The fourth account was opened with the National Bank of Kenya and had 6.3 million shillings.

It is strange that the amount goes unused as the government is raising loans from development partners to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

No properly constituted Board

However, the Auditor-General has confirmed the continued existence of the kitty without a properly constituted one n bo criticizes ard for managing the fund in accordance with the PFM (Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund) Regulations 2020.

“Management has stated that there is a similar fund under the office of President, with a full board of directors, and whose roles and mandate are similar to those of the fund administered by the National Treasury,” the report said.

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However, the auditor notes that there is no evidence of this that the existing board was appointed within the terms of the PFM (Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund) Regulations of 2020.

The special audit also found that alongside the four Bank Accounts there is another bank account — Kenya Covid-19 Fund account number operated by Absa Bank Kenya PLC.

The account number was opened by the established Covid-19 Emergency Fund Board by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Donor financial support

The national government negotiated through the National Treasury with various donors for financial support for both Covid -19 mitigation programs and budget support economic stimulus programs.

For the period of the special audit, 214.91 billion shillings mobilized by various development partners in the form of loans and disbursed to various government agencies for Covid-19 emergency response.

When the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, the Covid-19 intervention measures Budget shifts of Sh 58 0.16 billion to cope with the emergency measures.

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