Governors call for financial autonomy to make economic bloc success

From right are Governors from Nyandarua, Nyeri and Meru, Francis Kimemia, Mutahi Kahiga Kiraitu Murungi, respectively and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa,during an establishment of Central Kenya Economic Block in Nyeri Town, on January 23,2019. [Photo: Kibata Kihu/Standard]

Governors from Mt Kenya region want the law reviewed to grant county governments financial autonomy.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said there were many restraints on how counties handled finance.

"We can create economic blocs that are constricted by the Controller of Budget and frustrated by the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis). I think that system needs to be overhauled," he said.

The Meru County chief made the remarks at Outspan Hotel in Nyeri when governors from Central Kenya Economic Bloc met with Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa during a public participation exercise for a policy paper to guide counties in the establishment of economic blocs.

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"Yes, we have devolved politically but we have not seen devolution in financial and economic affairs and I think that is where we need to focus. These bureaucrats at Treasury have to be dismantled so that our economic blocs and counties can be given more power, both in the form of collecting and distributing taxes for development of our people,” Kiraitu said.

Those present included Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Nyandarua's Francis Kimemia.

Kiraitu criticised the Controller of Budget for "misleading that there was no development in the region'".

“We feel discouraged when people sitting in Nairobi pour cold water on what we have done," he said.

Mr Wamalwa said the law would need to be changed to accommodate the developments.

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"The law as it is allows for these partnerships but there are limitations, particularly when it comes to finance. There are challenges that will require amendments to some of our laws."

Mr Kimemia said constitutional review should strengthen county governments even as it addressed concerns about a bloated government.

GovernorsMt Kenya regionGovernor Kiraitu MurungiController of BudgetEugene Wamalwa