Governors demand quick release of county funds

By: MOSES ODHIAMBO

Governors Monday demanded the speedy release of funds to counties to curb a cash crunch that threatens to paralyse operations of the devolved units.

Laxity on the part of the national government in regard to release of devolution money was now becoming costly for the counties, they said.

Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, who chairs the Council of Governors’ Finance Committee, said the fact that only Nairobi has received its allocation for the month of September was unfair, more so as other counties grapple with pressure to pay workers’ salaries without delay.

He said that only the allocations for the month of August have been paid into accounts of the 47 counties.

“We wonder why it is taking the national government long to release monies for September. They should move with speed so that the county exchequers can move to settle what had already been committed for payment by the devolved units,” Mr Oparanya said.

The Kakamega Governor further asked Treasury to release reports that tally with what the county exchequers have at the time of such announcement.

Mr Oparanya told the Nation Monday on telephone that they have spent many hours in meetings discussing timely release of money to counties with little to show for them.

“Why have the other counties not received their monies for September and October? What is the essence of the many meetings we have held if the national government is bent on condoning such laxity?” he asked.

COUNTIES’ ALLOCATIONS

He said most counties were burdened with the need to pay contractors who come out to demand payment immediately there is an announcement of a disbursement.

Treasury PS Dr Kamau Thugge, in an advert in the local dailies on Monday, said that they have released funds for July, August and part of September 2015 to county governments.

“Disbursement for September and October 2015 are in progress, taking into account the county governments’ bank balances at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK),” Dr Thugge said.

The national government exchequer indicated that Sh54.1 billion has been released to county governments by October 29, 2015.

Sh32 billion was indicated as the bank balances for the 47 counties in their accounts at CBK; which includes local revenues that have been deposited at the bank.

In the latest release, Nairobi was the greatest beneficiary after it got Sh3.2 billion, followed by Kiambu (Sh1.9 billion), Kisii (Sh1.8 billion), Turkana (Sh1.78 billion), Machakos (Sh1.76 billion), Kakamega (Sh1.57 billion), and Garissa (Sh1.53 billion).

Other big reapers were Migori (Sh1.45 billion) Nakuru (Sh1.44 billion), Homa Bay (Sh1.40 billion), Busia (Sh1.36 billion), Narok (Sh1.32 billion), Bungoma (Sh1.30 billion), Kilifi (Sh1.26 billion), Kitui (Sh1.23 billion), Wajir (Sh1.22 billion), Bomet (Sh1.17 billion) and Kericho which got Sh1.12 billion.

Kisumu was allocated Sh1 billion, whereas Kajiado, Isiolo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Isiolo, Kirinyaga among others got less than a billion shillings each.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION