By Eva Mola
CBEF stands for County Budget and Economic Forum. It is created by Section 137 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). It is a forum required to be established by the County Government.
Its members include the Governor who Chairs the CBEF, other members of the County Executive Committee and representatives from professionals, business, labour issues, women, persons with disabilities, the elderly and Faith based groups at the county level.
The number of representatives must match the number of County Executive Committee members. The representatives are appointed by the Governor from persons nominated by organizations representing these groups. The Secretary of the CBEF shall be drawn from the representatives group.
Purpose of the CBEF
The purpose of the CBEF is to assist the County Government to analyze and identify its priorities as they budget for programs for the County. The CBEF improves the coordination between citizens and government. It is one form of public participation. Under Section 137(3) of the Public Finance Management Act the CBEF is expected to provide a means for consultation by the County Government on:-
Nomination of Members to the CBEF
The Governor is required to call for nominations to the CBEF within 30 days after the appointment of the County Executive Members.
The call for nominations will clarify the kind of information to be submitted with each name. Nominees and appointees must have at least a diploma and basic knowledge of budget and economic affairs.
Once a call for nomination is made, the representative organizations have 21 days to submit nominees in writing.
After receiving the names, the Governor has 30 days to make appointments.
After the appointment, the Governor has 7 days to publish and publicize using print media, radio public notices in religious institutions and market and other available means:
What makes a CBEF effective?
Cooperation and collaboration
There may be no umbrella body that covers each of the groups mentioned by the Act. The Governor in calling for nominations should therefore make the invitation broad enough to cut across different groups. To ensure fair distribution and representation it might be useful for the groups to form organized networks that can collectively decide on a list of names to send to the Governor.
The law is silent on the process of removing, replacing or recalling a nominee once appointed. After the appointment, the networks must hold their representatives to account in order to cure this. Their membership in the CBEF is tied to their membership in a certain network, therefore, their nominating organization should be able to discipline or urge them to act in the best interest of the County. Tied to this, once appointed, the member must effectively represent the entire group and not only his sponsoring organization. For instance if an accountant is nominated to represent professionals in Mombasa County CBEF, he must act for the benefit not just of the ICPSK – Mombasa Branch but also for other professionals in Mombasa including doctors, teachers, Human Resource Practitioners, lawyers, etc.
Additionally the Members must on appointment take and honour an oath to act in the Best Interest of the County. The position is not meant to accord him/her any personal benefit, least of all at the expense of the collective.
Finally the CBEF members are required to facilitate public participation forums within the County. What they discuss in the CBEF should trickle down to their networks member organizations and essentially every citizen in the County. At the same time these discussions and recommendations should be informed by their nominating networks. The nominating network should work at the grass root level to identify areas of priority for the County Budget. Where necessary the CBEF may also require to involve the County Assembly in order to implement its recommendations.
As such in order for CBEF to be effective, there will be a whole lot of collaboration and cooperation: between the organizations and the networks; between the county government and the CBEF members; between the CBEF members; and between CBEF and the County Assembly.
The CBEF is meant to represent the needs of the citizen within a County. The members are nominated from among organized groups of:
The list is not exhaustive and may be added to in order to represent all facets of citizenry within the county. It is expected that there shall be continual consultation within the networks and associations throughout the budget formation and implementation and evaluation stages.