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Programme-Based Budget (PBB) Estimates


The Budget Estimates present detailed revenue and expenditure estimations for the forthcoming year and forward-looking estimates for the MTEF.  Both revenues and expenditures are organized and presented by department, program and sub-programs.  They contain yearly recurring expenditures (such salaries and operation and maintenance expenses) as well as development estimates for new investments and projects.  Budget Estimates are guided by the ceilings approved in the CFSP.


Upstream:  ADP, CFSP, Sector reports

Downstream: Budget Appropriation, Implementation and Service Delivery


Following the approved county fiscal policy and within their respective revenue and expenditure ceilings (CFSP), each department refines the estimates for each program and subprogram.  Projects included in the Annual Development Plan are (or have been) fully appraised and costed to reach the draft development estimates. Revenue and service delivery targets are refined (including reorganization of personnel and administrative resources when/where needed) to arrive at the draft recurrent estimates.  Draft estimates are subjected to public participation (CBEF and general public), finalized and submitted to the County Assembly by April 30th.  The County Assembly reviews the estimates – receiving inputs for the public and from its sector committees – and might recommend changes or adjustments.

For a more detailed description of the Budget Estimates process, follow this link: Budget Estimates – Step by Step Description


Good budget discipline starts with accurate estimates. Unfortunately, budget estimates are regularly “balanced” (that is having “expenditures = revenues”) by inflating revenue expectations beyond realistic estimates rather than making the tough choices needed to cut expenditures. This implies that often significant portions of budgets end up unfunded.

Programme-based Budgeting (PBB) requires counties to assign resources to the achievement of program outcomes (say improvement in maternal health) rather than to the inputs (say salary of 100 nurses). Programme-based budgets should be able to tell the story of what the county government is trying to achieve. This is difficult and we are still working towards more effective and transparent budgeting. For example, most county departments still lump all staff and/or vehicles into a single “admin” programme making it hard to see how much it costs to implement a programme and achieve a given service delivery outcome.



Laws and Regulations

Public Finance Management Act, 2012

Public Finance Management (County Government) Regulations 2015

Guidelines and Tools

County Budget Operational Manual. National Treasury, 2014. See Chapter 7, Programme-Based Budget Estimates.

Other Resources

National Treasury Circulars