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Governors outcry over release of funds

Council of Governors (COG) has appealed to President William Ruto to increasing allocation to the counties as pledged in his inaugural speech on September 13 when he was sworn in.

Speaking to the press in Naivasha, the COG chair Ms. Anne Waiguru who is also Kirinyaga Governor said apart from increasing allocation to the counties, President Ruto also promised to transfer all devolved functions which were still being held by the National Government.

“We also ask that the funds follow these devolved functions as they come to us,” she said. Other governors who include Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi who is also the vice chair of the COG and Kisii Governor Simba Arati voiced concern about pending bills runs into billions of shillings many of which they inherited from previous administrations saying audit process was ongoing in the counties into these bills with a view to ascertain the genuine ones which need to be paid and those that have audit queries to be dealt with accordingly.

They also said as much as they were working hard to improve revenue collection in the counties, delay by the treasury in releasing money allocated to the counties had hampered the smooth running of the counties contributing to the increasing burden of pending bills.

“We do appeal to the treasury to release the monies due to the counties on the 15th day of every month in order to avoid forestalling the functionality of these governments,” Arati said.

The governors and their deputies who were elected on August 9, are in Naivasha to also be sensitized on the changes in the laws including on private/public partnership, issues of finance and procurement and the thorny issue of bloated work force among others.

Arati also said they were looking forward to automating every sector of their governments in order to enhance transparency and accountability and also make provision of services to wananchi efficient and faster.

“You wonder for instance why an officer has to travel to Nairobi to get approval on budget for example from the Controller of Budget (COB) when it can be done at the click of a button, its time wasting and resource consuming,” he said.

The 2010 Constitution set up 47 devolved governments in the country. It then set up mechanism for equitable sharing of revenue among county governments and is based on the provision of Article 217 of the Constitution, read together with Article 216 and the Fifth Schedule Section 16.

The Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) prepares a recommendation each financial year and submit to Parliament in accordance with the provisions of Article 217 where the Senate makes a determination and approves the revised revenue sharing formula among the counties.

The 2021 Division of Revenue Act allocated the county governments an equitable share of Sh. 370 billion in the financial year 2021/2022. The allocation is an increase of Sh.53.5 billion from the Sh. 316.5 billion allocated to the counties during the 2020/2021 financial year.

This enhanced allocation to the counties is equivalent to 27.3 per cent of the last audited accounts (Sh. 1.358 billion for FY 2016/17) as approved by Parliament.

Despite these allocations, a report released in March this year by the Controller of Budget (COB) Margaret Nyakang’o revealed that the 47 counties had accumulated pending bills totaling to Sh. 107 billion.

County governments are required to settle pending bills on time as specified in contract agreements to avoid the accumulation of arrears. As of March 2022, Nairobi County for instance was yet to pay suppliers and contractors Sh. 84.01 billion, being the highest bill among devolved units.

By Mabel Keya –Shikuku

 

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