Devolution conference: Ruto wants counties stop spending money they don't have

Counties should not commit without  resources: Deputy President William Ruto. [File/Standard]
NAIROBI, KENYA: Deputy President William Ruto has warned the counties against overcommitting on resources they do not have as national government addresses delays in disbursement of funds.

Speaking in Kakamega the DP said the national government had no intention of delaying funds meant for the counties also reminding the devolved units to up their game in revenue collection at the counties level.

Ruto noted that as at September last year, county governments held Sh99 billion worth of pending bills

“Less than half and infact only 22 counties attained the average revenue collection of 60 percent or above of their four-year revenue targets. Those which fell short have felt greater heat in the form of accumulated pending bills.”

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“I agree with the sentiments expressed so far of need to expedite release of funds to counties, that is a solid statement. But you have to also acknowledge that we normally disburse the funds immediately we receive them from the tax payers,’ he added.

He directed the National Treasury to liaise controller of budget and the auditor general to assist county governments in resolving financial matters.

Key areas he wants to be corrected includes delays in establishing effective internal audit department to strengthen internal control mechanisms in compliance with section 155 of public finance management act of 2012.

“If counties can improve to ensure proper documentation of resources they spend we would avoid negative publicity from AG reports,” he said adding that the delays in the submission of reports for example the AG report is the basis and source of many negative reports on counties.

The three-day devolution conference in Kakamega was opened on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga addressed the governors on Wednesday.

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In his address, Uhuru directed the ministry of public service to avail space for any county government that is willing to avail under one roof its permit issuing system and physical planning approvals to businesses. This he said will make life easier for Kenyans.

He disclosed that more than one trillion shillings has been transferred to counties for services in the last five years.
He stressed on closer working relationship between the county and national government to help tackle challenges facing Kenyans.

DP William RutoDevolution ConferenceRaila Odinga