Release county cash, governors demand

Treasury CS Henry Rotich during a past budget reading session. [Photo: Courtesy]
A number of governors are under pressure from the electorate to fulfil the promises they made during campaigns because of failure by the National Treasury to release money to counties.

The county chiefs who spoke to The Standard said lack of funds had put them in a precarious situation since they could not make any financial plans and commit to various projects.

Although most counties have received funds for recurrent expenditure from the National Treasury, money meant for development has not been disbursed.

And now, the county bosses want the Henry Rotich-led National Treasury to commit to release the much-awaited funds to enable the devolved units finance development projects.

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The chairman of the Council of Governors Finance, Planning and Economic Affairs Committee and Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso said development funds have been hard to come by because of the prolonged electioneering period.

Laboso also said it was sad that some counties had to go for commercial loans to fund various projects, which she noted had put pressure on governors.

“The issue of the release of funds has been discussed in various forums and the answer we have always got is that revenue collection has been a bit slow and occasioned by the prolonged electioneering period. It is regrettable that some governors have to go for commercial loans to commit on projects,” she said.

Meeting objectives

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), and Ali Roba (Mandera) said it has been frustrating to meet their objectives.

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Dr Mutua said Machakos had yet to receive the January allocation, adding that just the way the national government paid civil servants in time, their county counterparts were also Kenyans and deserved to be paid early.

“The National Treasury needs to make it a matter of priority to release the cash for every three months or at the end of the month,” said Mutua.

Oparanya said his county had not received any money in the past four months, paralysing all operations.

“I have made several trips to the National Treasury and my visits have yet to bear any results. I have not received any money for the past four months and this money is not for us to kneel down for somebody to release it...” said Oparanya.

Rasanga lamented that apart from the money for recurrent expenditure, he had yet to receive even a coin for development projects.

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Roba said: “Yes, we are adversely affected by the delay in the release of funds. We are four months behind to the tune of Sh3 billion unreleased funds from the disbursement schedule.”

But the National Treasury said it had disbursed over Sh107 billion of the Sh306.2 billion owed to all counties under the quotable share formula by January 30.

Treasury further said counties would receive an extra Sh24 billion through different line State agencies before the end of the financial year.  

“Allocation for county governments as per the County Allocation of Revenue Act 2017 amounts to Sh331,013,018,508. The Sh306,200,000,000 represents the equitable share and level five hospital allocations.

“The balance of Sh24,813,018,508 will be disbursed by the respective national government agencies,” Treasury CS Henry Rotich said in a statement published in the Kenya Gazette last Friday.

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Kilifi, which is owed Sh10 billion has received Sh4.3 billion, Tana River which is entitled to Sh5.3 billion has received Sh1.3 billion, Lamu that is entitled to Sh2.5 billion has since received Sh1.1 billion as Treasury says it has disbursed Sh1.7 billion to Taita Taveta from the Sh3.9 billion allocated.

Garissa, which was allocated Sh7 billion has so far received Sh3 billion and Wajir Sh1.9 billion from its 8.1 billion kitty.

Council of GovernorsNational Treasurytreasury cabinet secretary henry rotichgovernors