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Orengo calls for thorough audit of the government

Siaya Governor, James Orengo is calling for a thorough audit of the government in the wake of financial challenges that has seen counties fail to receive their share of the equitable funds.

Orengo at the same time supported calls for a shutdown of the county governments operations countrywide should the national treasury fail to release funds to the devolved units in the next two weeks.

Speaking in Siaya after presiding over the distribution of subsidized fish feed to fish farmers in the county, Orengo lamented that whereas the current government, under President William Ruto, removed subsidies on basic commodities on premise that they will instead direct the resources to production, there was no evidence that the same has been done.

“We are not seeing any figures showing that they are actually doing it or that the policy decision has resulted in the expansion of the economy,” said the governor who was flanked by among others, the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Sylvestre Okoth and his health counterpart, Dr. Martin Odhiambo K’onyango.

The Governor said that the shutdown of the counties will greatly affect the ordinary citizens as no service will be rendered, adding that he will personally not be working during the shutdown in solidarity with other county government employees affected by the non-remittance of funds.

“Once shut down is on, all services such as roads maintenance, agriculture, early childhood education and health services will be affected,” he said adding, “This is unprecedented. It has never happened before where you have more than two months of the equitable share of national revenue not being paid within a reasonable time.”

Orengo said that with just two months into the closure of the financial year and the fact that the counties are owed a five-month backlog, the devolved units may find themselves in a quagmire of meeting the tight expenditure deadlines should the treasury release all the funds owed.

“Suppose the seven months’ funds are availed tomorrow and you are required to spend it in two months and undertake all the processes required for the development project; it is a crisis by itself,” lamented the governor.

He however said that Siaya government has been paying its workers despite the challenges.

“In Siaya, despite everything, we have not failed to pay salaries,” he said adding that when he took over the mantle, there were problems with salary payment and non-remittance of statutory deductions and he had to intervene to sort out the mess.

During the occasion, the county government, in collaboration with the Aquaculture Business Development Programme distributed 98.3 metric tonnes of fish feeds valued at Sh. 28.6M to local fish farmers.

By Philip Onyango & Calvin Otieno

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