The Office of the Controller of Budget (OCOB) has written to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) seeking guidance on the recently announced car grants before they are implemented.
In a letter dated February 17 and received by SRC on February 19, OCOB said that it has received numerous requests from County Governments on implementation of the review of the car loan benefit to a transport facilitation benefit in the form of a car grant for the speakers and Members of the County Assembly (MCAs).
The car grant was promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta, as he sought to woo the county legislators to pass the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional Amendment Bill.
“The requests from the county governments can be grouped into two categories, namely; an advisory on how to implement conversion of the car loan facility into a car grant, and, requests to authorize withdrawals from County Revenue Funds to finance the car grants,” the letter read in part.
Most counties budgeted for a car loan facility and not a car grant, which is being implemented through legislation enacted to create a revolving fund.
The letter reveals that some of the counties merged the car loan facility and the mortgage facility into one fund while others are operating one mortgage and car loan fund for the staff and MCAs.
“It should be noted that in some counties, the fund is not fully funded. Further, in implementing the said advisory to convert the car loan facility into a car grant and in light of the above issues, we are confronted with scenarios where the speaker and the MCAs have not accessed the car loan facility, have accessed the car loan facility and have fully repaid the loan, have accessed the facility and have partially repaid the loans, and have accessed the loan from the joint car and mortgage fund for the staff and the members of the County Assembly,” added the letter.
“We, therefore, seek your clarification on how to convert the car loan facility to a car grant benefit taking into consideration the above four scenarios and how to treat the interest so far repaid by the beneficiaries,” the letter concluded.
On February 9, SRC approved the Ksh4.5 billion car grants for MCAs and speakers.
Commission chairperson Lynn Mengich, in a memo to CoG chairman Martin Wambora, said counties will be given implementation guidelines.
“The SRC takes cognisance of the similarity of the roles of the legislators at the county and national levels. It should be noted that the category of benefits to the legislators at the county and national levels are similar, with the exception of Transport Facilitation Benefit “Car Grant” that is provided to the legislators at the national level,” SRC said.
“In this regard, the COG asserts that it is only fair to extend the same benefit to the Speaker and Member of the County Assembly,” SRC added.
Upon conversion, the existing Car Loan shall cease and the Speakers and Members of the County Assembly who have already benefited on the existing car loan shall convert their Car Loan to Transport Facilitation Benefit in form of a Car Grant.