Government transfers 61 libraries to counties

Kenya National Library services headquarters, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The State has completed the transfer of 61 library services to counties as part of the process of transferring pending multi-billion devolved functions.

County governments have now officially taken over the running of library services across the country after the national government handed over assets worth millions of shillings and another Sh425 million to cater for the staff salaries.

The Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC), which is spearheading the transfer of functions, revealed that the transfer process of 61 libraries to 33 counties is now complete.

IGRTC chairperson Kithinji Kiragu who spoke during the handover of Kibra library to the Nairobi county government, said the full transfer of functions was on and would be concluded within the set march deadline.

“The Kibra library marks the sixtieth out of sixty-one libraries that we have so far transferred after signing agreements with the host counties. We have also facilitated the handover of all assets registers to the counties,” said Kiragu.
He also signed agreements with the Nairobi county secretary Patrick Analo and Kenya National Library Services CEO Charles Nzivo.

The transfer of libraries comes after the conclusion of a validation of pending devolved functions in Naivasha where the governors, Principal Secretaries and the IGRTC met for deliberations.

IGRTC is now expected to compile a report on the further identified pending devolved functions which will be shared with the national and county governments coordinating summit for ratification. The functions will then be gazetted for transfer to the devolved units.

President William Ruto had given the parties a 60-day deadline that lapses at the end of this month to have concluded the transfer of all pending devolved functions and determine the value of their accompanying resources.

The library services were key among the pending devolved functions that were still being performed by the National government.

KNLS Chief Executive Officer Nzivo confirmed that the national library service had concluded the transfer of Sh425 million in financial resources for the running of the libraries.

“We call upon all the counties that have received these libraries to ensure that they are kept running and we will still play our part in ensuring that that they are well capacitated,” stated Nzivo.

He also noted that KNLS will be in charge of developing policies and building the capacities of counties to effectively run the libraries.

Kiragu said that IGRTC would continue with its role of ensuring that all devolved functions were going to be performed by the counties.

“It’s a constitutional requirement and a presidential directive that we release all devolved functions to counties," he said.

Nairobi County Secretary Analo promised to budget resources for the running of the library in the coming financial year.

He also said that the county would modernise the library through the introduction of technology and would also work towards the establishment of a library in every subcounty.

“If we do away with libraries then we are doing away with our civilisation but the only way to ensure that we grow as a country to sustain them and make sure Kenyans read. We are going to ensure that a library is established in each sub-county so we can promote a reading culture,” he added.

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