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Counties staring at a crisis as experienced engineers exit service

Mass retirement of Public Works’ engineers could be frustrating the delivery of services in most counties if what is happening in Nandi County is also reflected in other counties.

According to Nandi County Government Chief Executive Committee member in charge of Finance Hillary Serem, the top cream Public Works’ engineers devolved from National Government have retired with the few remaining expected to soon proceed on their terminal leave.

Serem argues that the county government heavily relied on these competent engineers in doing technical work and there has been no replacement since 2013.

The Finance Chief says that Public Works’ engineers are dependent on Preparing Bill of Quantities, roads designing among other technical works at the county level.

“I agree that the engineers at Public Works previously under the National Government have up to date public service experience and we need to maintain their expertise,” Serem was responding to a question posed by Sheila Yieke Commission on Revenue Allocation Chief Legal Advisor during their visit in Nandi County. Yieke sought to know the main development challenges facing Nandi County.

Serem listed insufficient finance at the county level to employ technical engineers in areas of roads, water and many other technical areas.

He admitted that the Nandi County Government is staring at a crisis at Public Works if the few left engineers retire soon.

“As the head of finance, proposals have been brought to my attention to employ a few critical engineers at Public Works but our resources are limited,” Serem said.

Serem noted that the gap left by exiting engineers is frustrating service delivery for instance in preparation of Preparing Bill of Quantities in quest of roads and housing infrastructure financing and construction procedures.

However, the County Finance Chief revealed that the county had registered close to 10,000 business units as a move to enrich the county revenue stream.

He believes that well tapped revenue would enable the county to perform more duties that currently are unable to deliver.

The visiting CRA team led by Jonas Kuko advised Serem to develop a uniform automated revenue collection system to optimize revenue streams.

On Tea Cess, the team recommended that it should be used to improve infrastructure in tea-growing areas within the county.

Kuko agreed that CRA, when officially approached, could enable counties to tackle challenges related to revenue and how best they could seal tax evasion loopholes in identified areas.

The CRA team had visited Nandi County to give guidelines on the use of Equalization Funds in identified areas within Nandi County. According to the Commission, over Sh140 million would be spent in Nandi County.

This comes after senators approved appropriation of the money targeted for marginalised counties which is close to Sh13 billion to be spent in 34 counties.

By Geoffrey Satia

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