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Governors’ Fears Over Delayed Release of Funds

The Council of Governors (CoG) is planning a Children’s Devolution Conference scheduled to take place from 3rd to 6th July, 2023 in Kiambu County

The proposed Theme for the Children’s Conference is “Empowering young voices: A Decade of Devolution and the Future of Children in Kenya.”

In a press statement  the CoG chairperson Anne Waiguru further said that the meeting will be a precursor to the planned Devolution conference that will be held on the 15th – 19th August, 2023 in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

Waiguru who issued the statement after completion of Council Meeting  to discuss critical issues of common interest to County Governments noted that despite the ongoing plans of the two major conferences, devolution is under threat from the national government.

The COG chair regretted  the National Treasury has not disbursed a total of Ksh.94.35 billion meant for the operations of the devolved units that had accrued over the months of February, March and April .

She gave a breakdown of the arrears amounting to  Ksh.31.45 billion for the month of February 2023 allocation,  Ksh.29.6 billion owed to 47 Counties for March 2023 allocation and  Ksh.33.3 billion owed to 47 Counties for April 2023 allocation.

“The Four month delay is unprecedented in the history of devolution and negates the spirit of the meeting held in Naivasha between His Excellency The President and the Governors”, she said in the statement. .

Waiguru who is also the Kirinyaga Governor said  that on behalf of the council , the  CS National Treasury should  immediately release the Ksh.94.35 billion owed to County Governments without any further delay.

The Council of Governors hereby issues a 14 days’ notice to shut down Counties if February, March and April arrears are not released within two weeks”, she said.

The chairperson  also gave a notice to  citizens of Kenya , saying that due to the failure of the National Treasury to disburse the funds, County Governments will not be able to deliver services as expected.

The Council has conveyed their dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Senate voted on the Division of Revenue Bill, 2023, rejecting an amendment that would have seen the devolved units get Ksh.407 billion as equitable share in the FY 2023/24.

“This is a new low for a House of Parliament Constitutionally mandated to represent the Counties and serve to protect devolution. We note with concern that in the history of devolution, the senate has never voted against the spirit of devolution in as far as the increase of resources is concerned”, Waiguru said.

The council has called upon the Senate to uphold their primary mandate that County Governments are well-resourced in order to perform their functions optimally.

On the proposed attempt by the National Government to claw back on Devolution by seeking to micromanage County Governments mandates on revenue collection as prescribed under Article 209(4) of the Constitution, the chair said that there is no reason why County Governments should be submitting particulars of new taxes to the National Treasury and CRA.

“Chapter 12 of the COK gives the two levels of government distinct mandates on the revenue raising capabilities. Therefore the bill before parliament is unconstitutional. Counties are not subservient to national government”, she reiterated adding that it  should never be mandatory for counties to submit a list of all taxes, fees and levies to the Cabinet Secretary National Treasury.

On the review of the public finance management act, 2012, Waiguru said the  Ministry of Finance and the National Treasury should be separated adding that in order  address this challenge and many other issues clawing back on devolution a comprehensive review of the Public Finance Management Act of 2012 should be done.

By Wangari Ndirangu

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