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Governors call for fair allocation of funds to national, county governments

Chairperson of the Council of Governors, Ann Waiguru, has asked the National Treasury to ensure equity in the disbursement of money to the national and county governments.

Ms Waiguru who is the Kirinyaga Governor, noted that counties have the highest bulk of civil servants and as such asked Treasury to treat all civil servants fairly by ensuring that they prioritize county governments.

“I understand that they (National Treasury) are constrained but even as they pay civil servants at the national level, we are urging them to remember that county governments also employ civil servants. If they pay 50 percent of their salaries at the national level, they should also give us our 50 percent to also be able to pay up-to-date salaries for the county government staff,” said Waiguru.

Waiguru who was speaking in Nyeri County, also said that the continued delays in discharging the equitable share of revenue to counties was threatening operations in the 47 devolved units.

The total amount owed to counties, the COG chair says, currently stands at Sh125.8 billion for the months of January (Sh31.45 billion), February (Sh31.45 billion), March (Sh29.6 billion) and Sh33.3 billion for April.

She noted that the last time counties received money from Treasury was in December 2022, a situation that has forced some governors to resort to relying on bank overdrafts to keep counties afloat.

Waiguru described the current state of affairs as dire adding that the continued delay was threatening some of the essential services such as healthcare provision in counties.

“Services such as healthcare, infrastructure development and provision of water require resources and we cannot continue to have a backlog of about two to four months. We need to close that gap with a minimum of a month’s backlog so we urge the Treasury to please prioritize the county governments before we grind to a halt,” she said.

The Kirinyaga Governor was flanked by her counterparts, governors Kimani Wa Matangi (Kiambu), Kiarie Badilisha (Nyandarua) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri).

The four were speaking on the sidelines of a meeting convened by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to chart the way forward on tackling alcoholism and drug abuse in Central region.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said that some of the resolutions passed during the one-day meeting risked remaining as mere proposals if the National Treasury did not release funds for their implementation.

Kahiga said that the onus was on the National Treasury to act as an independent arbitrator in ensuring that the 47 devolved units get equal attention as national government ministries, departments and agencies.

“Some of the programmes that we have put in place may not be successful if we do not receive money meant to be sent to counties. Our plea is that the money is released as quickly as possible,” said Kahiga.

“And we also want the issue of equity to be addressed where the National Treasury should be an independent mediator as opposed to a situation where we are seeing it leaning too much towards the national government projects,” he added.

On the issue of amending provisions of the County Allocation Revenue Act to allow counties to spend their own source revenue at source, the Nyeri Governor said that the only solution to the current crisis lay in full implementation of the provisions of the law in its current status.

Kahiga said that the Treasury had already contravened sections of the Act four times this financial year by failing to release money to counties by the 15th of the month as the Act provides.

“The only thing the National Treasury needs to do with regards to allowing counties to use their revenue at source is follow the law. When it comes to money and revenue at the national level, once they have dealt with the bills and debts, the next thing should be to give counties their money,” said Kahiga.

By Wangari Mwangi

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