Governor Mike Sonko has referred the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, 2020, allocating Sh15 billion to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service back to the assembly with amendments.
He had declined to assent to the Bill, saying that the funds proposed by the MCAs have been allocated to functions not transferred to the NMS.
The ward reps have 21 days to approve the Bill.
Speaker Beatrice Elachi on Wednesday confirmed that her office had received the memorandum from the governor.
She said the House business committee and the assembly’s legal team will look at the reservations put forward by the governor before deciding the next course of action.
Elachi, however, argued that by rejecting the proposal, it means Sonko does not understand this year’s budget, though he signed it.
“This was expected. If Sonko has rejected it then it means he does not need a budget. He should have just returned it with reservations,” she said.
“If he cannot respect what he signed at State House, then he should come out and say so and not open a fight with the assembly as we are only following the law.
Explaining why he refused to assent to the Bill, Sonko said some of the proposed allocations were for functions never transferred to the NMS. In February, Sonko surrendered Health, Transport, Public Works, Utilities and Ancillary, Planning and Development services to the state.
He accused the county assembly of amending the Bill “that gave rise to these irregular transfers and allocations” without the input of the Finance executive.
Elachi dismissed claims that the Bill was fashioned out of malice to weaken the governor.
“As an assembly, we have nothing to do with the Bill, but we wanted to see how we can help city residents by having funds for the war on coronavirus and for the Nairobi Metropolitan Service to deliver its mandate as tasked by the President. How is that malice?” she asked.
Standing Order 145 states that if the county assembly amends a Bill taking into consideration the issues raised by the governor, the speaker shall within 14 days submit it to the governor for assent.
“If the county assembly passes the Bill a second time, without amendment or with amendments which do not accommodate the governor’s concerns by a vote supported by two thirds of MCA, the speaker shall within seven days re-submit the Bill to the governor and the governor shall within seven days assent to the Bill,” it reads.
But if the governor fails to assent to a Bill or refer it back within the period referred to under this section, the Bill shall be taken to have been assented to on the expiry of that period.
For the House to approve or reject the governor’s memorandum with recommendations a special sitting must be called, where at least 80 MCAs are required to attend and pass it.
With the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing, it will be almost impossible to have that number of MCAs in the chambers.
Currently the MCAs are away after Elachi last month suspended plenary sittings for 30 days to comply with Covid-19 social distancing directive.
Early this week, she indicated that the House will resume business after the lapse of the 21-day containment of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area that was part of the presidential decree.
County Assembly Budget, Finance and Appropriation Committee chairman Robert Mbatia said they will look into the memorandum and do what is best for city residents.
“As a committee, we are ready to look into the governor’s memorandum before passing it to the whole House. What we need to consider is the time factor,” he said.
Mbatia said they decided to come up with the Bill since there are only two months left to the end of this financial year.
“We are living in crucial times because we have city residents who are depending on the county to supply face masks and sanitiser,” Mbatia noted