The Kitui County Government workers will miss July salaries following the 2020/2021 Budget impasse between the County Assembly and the Executive, the County Secretary, Dr. Joshua Chepchieng has said.
In a letter dated August 10, 2020 and addressed to all Chief Officers, Dr Chepchieng said that there will be unusual delay in payment of July 2020 salaries and wages. “A formal mediation process between the County Assembly and County Executive guided by the Controller of Budget aimed at unlocking the impasse is ongoing.”
Further, the County Secretary said that the Assembly has not yet given the Executive vote on account approval pending the consideration and approval of budget estimates for the 2020/2021 financial year.
“This state of affairs has made the County Executive unable to incur expenditure on various items, including processing of salaries,” read part of the letter signed by Dr. Chepchieng.
The Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Chair, Boniface Kilaa told the employees to brace for hard times ahead as the county had no monies owing to the budget crisis.
Kilaa said that the County Finance Executive had failed to submit the Kitui County Appropriation Bill 2020/2021 thirty days since the House unanimously approved the budget estimates on June 30, 2020.
“The Public Finance Management Act, 2012 requires the CECM for Finance to submit the Appropriation Bill within a period of seven days after the passage of budget estimates but that has not been the case. Instead County Minister submitted a memorandum of objection to the resolutions adopted by the House on the budget estimates on July 1, 2020 and a letter requesting a resolution on vote on account on the estimates,” he said.
Kilaa noted that cognizant of the inconveniences occasioned by the budget stand-off and delayed disbursement of funds, the Finance Executive ought to submit to the Assembly the Appropriation Bill within seven days and in line with the duly approved budget estimates.
“Failure to do so,this House shall discuss the conduct of the Finance Executive,” he warned.
The Majority Leader, Peter Kilonzo said that it was pre-mature for the County Executive to write a Memorandum of objection and negotiation with the Controller of Budget thereby interfering with the budget making process.
“The Executive’s actions are detrimental to welfare of county staff and development in this County because it has paralyzed payment of salaries and provision of critical services like healthcare,” lamented the Athi Ward representative.
Public service delivery is set to suffer total paralysis if the County Government workforce go on strike to protest against unpaid July salaries.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) Kitui Branch Secretary, Benjamin Munyalo said they are tired of these cat and mouse games with the county government, adding they cannot continue to work without salaries.
The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU)’s Kitui Branch Chairman, Stephen Kitheka said the Ngilu led administration was non-committal about timely payment of employees’ salaries.
By Yobesh Onwong’a