The National Government is set to re-establish planning offices in counties to resume close monitoring of government projects after 10 years of closure due to change of governance brought by devolution.
State Department of Planning PS Saitoti Torome said they have already got the green light from the relevant authorities after several years of consultation with the Public Service Commission.
“As a state department we were given approval by the Public Service Commission to re-establish the planning offices at the county level,” said Torome during a brief meeting with the Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka and other delegates at the local County Offices.
The PS said the new constitution 2010 brought major changes in the government which affected the operations of the department.
“We used to have vibrant county offices. At that time, we used to call them district offices because the current constitution was not in place but when devolution came there was a lot of disruption,” he said.
Torome explained to the county delegates that they realized there were many ongoing National Government projects in the counties that needed close and regular watch, therefore compelling the government to deploy staff to camp in the counties again.
“At the advent of devolution we thought that the National Government will have nothing to do with counties but then we noted that the investments in terms of projects particularly infrastructure in counties is actually even more than the county government are doing,” he explained.
The PS said the department has already secured a budget through Supplementary One to reestablish the offices on both regional and county levels.
Torome also revealed that the government started with establishing the regional offices in the eight regions namely Nairobi, Mombasa, Nyeri, Garrisa, Kisumu, Kakamega and Embu.
And as a way to monitor the government projects in all 47 counties, the PS said the president formed National Development Implementation and Communication Committee (NDICC) and the technical arm of the NDICC National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) which is made up of the Principal Secretaries and other key departments like the Central Bank of Kenya and Kenya Revenue Authority.
The work of the committees is purely to review all the government projects and remove obstacles which are making them stall.
The PS also touched on the Ronald Ngala Utalii College which recently resumed its construction but did not give details why the project had stalled for many years.
On his part, the county commissioner said he has been working hand in hand with all government departments in the county to ensure smooth running of national government activities and welcomed the re-establishment of the planning offices.
“Here we have excellent working relationship at a personal level between me and the governor and also the departments. We have been giving joint tasks involving officers of National Government at the County and Sub-county levels,” said Olaka.
After establishing the eight regional offices, the government is going to deploy a director of planning in every county who will be reporting to the regional directors.
The government will also commission 200 economists across the counties to give support to the directors and ensure smooth running of the offices.
By Jackson Msanzu