SAGANA: Governors yesterday pressed President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration to demonstrate commitment to devolution.
The frosty relations between the central and county governments was discussed at length at the meeting attended by Deputy William Ruto and including 31 governors, Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and senior advisers.
The governors complained about inadequate funding to devolved units, citing arrears in the subsidy for the free maternity programme that had left their health facilities unable to offer better services.
They observed that barely a month to the end of the three-year transitional period, the Government was yet to complete the verification of assets and liabilities of the defunct local authorities running into billions and transfer all devolved functions, including roads.
Also discussed was the report on capacity assessment and rationalisation of the civil service that reported that the public sector was overstaffed with 40,000 employees.
Nearly half the number are in the counties but the Council of Governors (CoG) has ruled out any retrenchment. CoG said it could not raise the Sh180 billion required to send the excess workers home.
President Uhuru opened the two-day Fifth National and County Government Co-ordinating Summit at State Lodge, Sagana, yesterday at which successes and challenges of devolution will be discussed.
CoG Chairman Peter Munya said he expected discussions to feature finances, including conditional grants such as funding for the national government's free maternity programme.
A governor told The Standard the county chiefs were concerned by the delay to release funds for the Sh4 billion free maternity services.
The issue of conditional grants in the health sector and health insurance and vaccines remained unresolved.
"The other issue that came up was the classification of roads, which has denied us (the counties) control of some of the roads which have direct impact on our operations," said the governor.
The counties are still struggling to put in place a standardised human resource management, address promotion issues and accrued salaries and pension schemes.
The meeting's agenda includes discussions on laws on double taxation, the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS), funds flow and oversight for conditional grants, revenue generated from former municipal courts and the Equalisation Fund.
Governors have in the past complained about IFMIS, saying it delays procurement and requires enhanced capacity and skills building, as well as access to fibre optic cables in every county headquarters.
Other sticking points are the agricultural funds, transfer of agricultural assets, fertiliser and privatisation of sugar companies.
Today will be dedicated to celebrating the successes of devolution, and will include presentations by the Presidential Delivery Unit and the Council of Governors Secretariat.
It will be capped by an address to the nation by the President, on the subject of devolution.
The leadership will have special focus on the reports by the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee chaired by former PS Karega Mutahi and the public finance management, which specifies modalities of appropriation of funds.
The Summit comes a day after the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council meeting in Nairobi, where the deputy president told governors the Government would not borrow money for lifestyle expenditure.
The resolutions of the meeting were also presented at the meeting.