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Show commitment to devolution, Governors tell President Uhuru Kenyatta

By Roselyne Obala
Updated Thu, February 11th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3
The Chairman Council of Governors and Governor of Meru, Govenor Peter Munya with his Deputy Chairman and Governor of Kwale Salim Mvurya, the Chief Whip and the Governor of Kakamega Wycliffe Oparanya and the Governor of Marsabit, Ukur Yattani at the Fifth National and County Government Coordinating Summit at State Lodge, Sagana Nyeri. PHOTO: Sammy Mose

 

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.

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