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Blow to NMS as Treasury declines to release cash for 6,052 staff

By Josphat Thiong'o | October 23rd 2020
National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani. [File, Standard]

The National Treasury has declined a request to release money for payment of salaries for 6,052 Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) staff seconded from City Hall.

In a letter addressed to NMS Director-General Mohammed Badi, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said there was no legal framework in place to facilitate such a transaction.

He said the funds can only be remitted to the Nairobi County Government (NCCG) Revenue Fund Account and not to NMS. In the letter dated October 15, 2020, Yatani noted that specific tenets of the law made it illegal to approve such a transaction.

Yatani said he can’t act on the request because there exists an unresolved dispute between City Hall and NMS on matters Budgeting, oversight of NMS funds and secondment of staff to NMS. All the disputes stem fom the Deed of Transfer agreement signed in February between both levels of governments.

“Section 4 (2) of CARA, 2020 provides that, each county’s allocation under subsection (1) be transferred to the respective County Revenue Fund,” reads the letter in part. [Josphat Thiongó]

“The above legal provisions, therefore, imply that equitable share allocation due to Nairobi City County Government, including monies for personnel emoluments, shall be transferred to NCCG Revenue Fund Account,” it adds.

Ongoing negotiations

The CS was responding to a letter by Badi dated September 3, 2020, in which the NMS boss was requesting Treasury to release the funds to pay workers.

This is after health workers under the NMS took to the streets, protesting, among other things, delay in salary payments. Their woes have further been compounded by the continued fight between the NMS and City Hall over the workers’ payroll.

NMS has been requesting City Hall to handover the staff payroll to enable it to pay staff seconded to it, but City Hall, on the other hand, maintains that it is the sole custodian of the staff payroll since the role of payment of salaries still lies with the Nairobi County Government.

This was captured in the letter by Yatani who brought to the fore that governor Mike Sonko had declared a dispute with regard to the Deed of Transfer agreement in relation to budgeting, Provision and Oversight of NMS Funds and secondment of staff to NMS.

The arbitration between City Hall and NMS is being carried out by the office of the Attorney General and Solicitor Kennedy Ogeto.

“Given the ongoing negotiations, the National Treasury awaits guidance from the office of the Attorney General,” said Yatani.

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