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Governors give Treasury 7 days to release Sh85 billion to speed up Covid response

BUSINESS
By Jacinta Mutura | April 9th 2021
The Council of Governors Chairman; Embu Governor Martin Wambora. [File, Standard]

The Council of Governors (CoG) has given the Treasury a one-week ultimatum to release more than Sh85 billion, warning that if their demands are not met then they will take drastic action.

The council has given the national government up to April 15 to release Sh78 billion owed to the 47 counties for January, February and March.

Further, the council demanded Sh7.2 billion to 12 counties that have a deficit meant for December 2020.

Speaking during the address on counties preparedness in the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic, CoG Health committee chairperson Anyang’ Nyong’o explained how the delay has slowed down their operations in the response to the pandemic.

“Despite being in a pandemic and two months to the end of the financial year, county governments are yet to receive their equitable share. This delay has continued to slow down timely response to Covid-19 and other county operations impacted negatively,” said Prof Nyong’o.

“The council strongly notifies the National Treasury that the inordinate four-month delay may lead to drastic actions since negotiations seem not to be headed anywhere,” said Kisumu governor.

However, the governors lauded the recent containment measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus saying that it has helped to bring down cases.

“In the last one week, there has been a decline in Covid-19 infections bringing the positivity rate to 15.1 per cent down from 22 per cent in the previous weeks,” they said.

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Treasury Cabinet Secretary Amb. Ukur Yattani. [File, Standard]

CoG announced that the Ministry of Health, through the Public Service Commission, has granted counties authority to renew contracts of all the healthcare workers involved in the war on Covid-19 for another six months from April to September.

“Further, the ministry is working closely with county governments to ensure that healthcare workers who terminated their contracts are replaced immediately to ensure that service delivery is not affected. The two levels of government are in discussion to see if the contracts of the health workers still in service can be extended for one year,” said Nyong’o.

Professor Nyong'o also lauded the administration of the coronavirus vaccine in counties noting that out of the 395,096 doses, 70,883 health workers have received the jab, 120,975 security officers and 33,375 teachers.

“We urge frontline workers and the elderly who are yet to be vaccinated to ensure that they receive the jab as the same is aimed at reducing severe illness and death from Covid-19,” he said.

The Council of Governors Health Committee Chairperson; Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o. [File, Standard]

The health committee chair further said that out of the 417 Intensive Care Unit beds and 186 High Dependency Unit beds, 259 beds and 104 beds respectively, are available.

“Cumulatively in 47 counties, there are 58 oxygen plants out of which 42 are functional. A total of 2,828 oxygen cylinders and 730 concentrators are available. Additionally, there are 3,601 isolation beds connected to oxygen across the 47 counties,” he said.

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