Nyeri county set aside funds to lay off staff

Governor Mutahi Kahiga and his deputy Caroline Karugu during the launch of an early childhood development programme in the past. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

The County Government has set aside Sh100 million to pay workers who agree to take early retirement.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the voluntary early retirement programme would help curb the soaring wage bill that had been eating into development funds.

Mr Kahiga, speaking when he signed the Sh7.78 billion budget for the 2019/20 financial year, expressed concern that only Sh2.5 billion would go to development.

“Despite us meeting the threshold of 30 per cent for development, we can do much better with more money. But, unfortunately, we have a bloated workforce and that is why we are setting aside money for voluntary retirement,” he said.

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The governor assured that the exercise would be conducted in a “humane” way and that no workers would be victimised during the process.

The Nyeri County Appropriation Bill 2019 was presented to the county assembly by Finance Executive Robert Thuo last week before being passed.

In the budget policy statement, focus was put on upgrading access roads, and the development of Nyeri town municipality and projects in particular wards.

Enhance equity

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“We have rolled out an initiative dubbed ward-specific projects programme to enhance equity and ensure development is felt in all corners of the county,” Mr Thuo said.

In a break from previous budgets, the county set aside Sh30 million for ward projects. Some of the county’s energy, agriculture and road projects will also be carried out in specific wards.

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Wards in Kieni sub-county will get an additional Sh10 million as part of an affirmative action plan.

The Health department received the highest budgetary allocation of Sh2.8 billion, and with the county implementing the national government’s universal health coverage pilot programme, Sh230 million was set aside to cater for the renovations of health facilities.

The county also allocated Sh2.1 billion to cater for salaries and allowances of medical personnel.

The Transport, Public Works Infrastructure and Energy department got the second-highest allocation of Sh974 million, with Sh543 million set to be spent on access roads within the municipality.

One of the reasons the county set aside the funds was to meet conditions set by the Kenya Urban Support Programme, which is a World Bank-funded initiative aimed at improving infrastructure in participating devolved regions.

Nyeri Young Professionals Association chairman Isaac Thuita commended the administration’s decision to set aside funds to rehabilitate access roads, saying this would open up the countryside.

“Roads are very critical and we hope that they are going to be constructed immediately so that farmers can get their produce to the market. We are also happy that the semi-arid Kieni is getting extra funds through the affirmative action programme,” said Mr Thuita.

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Governor Mutahi Kahiga2019/20 financial yearFinance Executive Robert ThuoNyeri County Appropriation Bill 2019