Determinants of Public Participation in Budget Making Process in Devolved Governments in Kenya: A Case of Trans Nzoia County
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Participatory budgeting has been supported in the legislative framework in Kenya, however, the process faces challenges characterized by low participation rates. This study therefore interrogated the influence of citizen’s perceptions, information availability and citizen’s knowledge on public participation in budget making process in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya. The opinions of Sub County Administrators, members of the county assembly, Ward Administrators, County executive committee members and adult citizens of Kiminini Sub-county in Kenya were sort. In total, the study sampled 448 respondents through multistage sampling. A mixed methodology was adopted where both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. A binary logit regression model was also used to show the relationship between the study variables. The study findings indicated that there is a low public awareness regarding public participation in the county in the tune of 29%. It was also established that the level of public participation in budget making process in the county was low at 7%. Additionally, the study established that majority of the citizens have a negative attitude towards participatory budgeting arguing that it was not adding any value to the development of the county The county government was also not open to availing information regarding participatory budgeting and that access to reliable and relevant information was only achievable to a moderate extent. These insights led to the recommendation that the county government can run campaigns and create awareness in order to reverse the negative attitude and public relations they face from the citizens. There is also a need to show political goodwill in implementing some of the relevant suggestions from citizen’s contributions. The county government should also avail relevant information to the citizens beforehand. This can be done through road shows, print media, local Community Based Organizations, Nongovernmental organizations, Chief’s Barazas, local radio stations and televisions. Programmes can be established to sensitize citizens about public budgeting procedures, public participation requirements, public financial management practices as well as social audit of the public sector in order to encourage boost their confidence to contribute on such matters.