Counties get additional Sh1.4 billion to clear pending bills

The National Treasury building.

The 47 counties will get an additional Sh1.4 billion to clear pending bills and meet the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) circulars on salary increment and promotion of staff.

This is after the Senate last week adopted the County Allocation of Revenue Bill (CARA), 2021 prepared by the National Treasury to give the county assemblies the additional monies.

The 47 county assemblies will get Sh33.25 billion out of Sh370 billion allocated to all the county governments with the remaining amount going to the county executives.

Out of the Sh33.25 billion, some Sh24.24 billion or 73 per cent will go towards salaries, allowances, gratuity, and pensions while Sh8.36 billion will be spent on operations and maintenance.

SRC last year released a circular giving guidance on the promotion and annual salary increment for county staff.

Senate Finance and Budget committee chair Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru told the House that the committee recommendation of the additional cash will help to avoid the accumulation of pending bills by county assemblies.

Mr Kibiru noted that Sh980 billion of the funds will go towards paying debts that have been accumulated by 35 county assemblies.

“The committee recommends that these funds should only be released after verification of pending bills by the Controller of Budget,” he said.

He said the allocation of the funds to the 35 county assemblies will increase their expenditure ceiling for this financial year.

“All monies appropriated for county assemblies have to be transferred in full by the end of the financial year and in the event of unspent balance, it should be availed in the subsequent financial year for budgeting and settlement of any financial commitment made in the previous year,” he said.

On the Senate resolution that county governments should rationalise the staff establishment before June 2021, the committee recommended that the same be extended to June 2023.

The chair also noted that the increase in the ceiling will enable MCAs to clear pending bills.

Nairobi, Nakuru, Turkana, Kiambu, and Kilifi counties will get the lion’s share of the Sh370 billion.

Nairobi will receive Sh19.24 billion, up from Sh15.91 billion; Nakuru Sh13.02 billion up from Sh10.47 billion; Turkana will get Sh12.60 billion against  Sh10.53 it got in the 2020/21 financial year. Kiambu and Turkana will get Sh11.71 billion and Sh11.64 billion, respectively, compared to Sh9.43 billion and Sh10.44 billion they received in the current financial year.

Lamu, Tharaka Nithi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Vihiga, and Nyamira counties will get the lowest funds though with marginal increase compared to the previous allocation.

Lamu has been allocated Sh3.10 billion against Sh2.59 billion it received in 2020/21 financial year; Tharaka Nithi will get Sh4.21 billion, up from Sh3.92 billion, and Elgeyo Marakwet Sh4.60 billion, compared to Sh3.86 million this year.

Vihiga and Nyamira will receive Sh5.06 billion and Sh5.13 billion, up from Sh4.65 billion and Sh4.81 billion, respectively.

The allocation of funds is based on the third basis for revenue allocation passed by Parliament last year after months of a stand-off in the Senate.

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