Treasury owes us Sh61b, governors council says

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru with county chiefs at a press briefing in Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Council of Governors has said the National Treasury owes the 47 county governments Sh61.05 billion in equitable share allocation for October and November, which has hampered services.

Chairperson Anne Waiguru, who was accompanied by 22 governors, told the press after the full council meeting in Nairobi on Monday that they are owed Sh29.6 billion for October allocations and Sh31.45 billion for November allocations.

The council said the balance in County Revenue Funds is due to the Controller of Budget’s two-week delay in approving requisitions, not under-absorption by counties.

“Our attention is drawn to the trajectory by the National Treasury which has been using the criteria of using absorption rate as a basis of cash disbursement to counties.

“We reject this proposal as it goes against Article 219 of the Constitution and Section 17 (6) of the PFM Act, 2012,” said Waiguru.

The Commission on Revenue Allocation has recommended Sh407 billion allocation to counties in the fiscal year 2023/24, a 10% increase from the current Sh370 billion on the Vertical Sharing of Revenue. 

The council proposed a 15% increase in projected revenue growth in the fiscal year 2023/24 and a minimum allocation of Sh425 billion to counties.

According to the governors, the provisions of the Governments Proceedings Act 26 of 2015 apply to county governments on matters relating to civil liabilities and rights of government, as well as civil proceedings by and against county governments.

“We wish to bring to the attention of the public the provision of section 21 of the Act which stipulates the manner in which orders against county governments should be satisfied, of particular importance, is the requirement that no person including governors should be personally liable under any order for payment by the county government,” said Waiguru. 

The governors said they will seek an audience with the national government to address pending bills, adding that the Office of the Controller of Budget continues to contribute to the amalgamation of pending bills by purporting to exercise Auditor General functions.

They told the Controller of Budget to stop being a roadblock and give counties more leeway in implementing their budgets. The governors emphasised that the Kenya National Public Health Institute Order of 2022, the National Syndemic Diseases Control Authority, and the Kenya Tissue and Transplant Authority were established through executive orders issued by former President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the August 9 General Election.

“There is a trend where the national government creates institutions to undertake devolved functions.

“The council calls for the audit of all laws that had been passed before the inception of devolution in 2013 and also post-2013- with a bid to align them to the devolved system of governance,” said Waiguru.

The governors said contracts for more than 9,000 staff recruited under the Universal Health Care programme will expire in May 2023, and they urged the national government to provide additional budgetary resources to counties for contract renewal at market-rate salaries.

Waiguru warned that the departure of UHC staff would disrupt healthcare services and urged the national government to delegate UHC payroll management to counties.

She said the council will meet with the Ministry of Health to discuss infrastructure and equipment support programmes, Managed Equipment Service (MES), microwave upgrading projects, and county Level 3 Hospital construction.

“We note the Ministry of Health’s continued procurement of medical equipment and installation of mobile clinics, lab equipment, and oxygen plants; our position is that it should stop interfering in devolved health service delivery.”