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Crisis as all county employees miss July salary

WORK LIFE
By Luke Anami and Roselyne Obala | August 2nd 2017
By Luke Anami and Roselyne Obala | August 2nd 2017
WORK LIFE

As the country goes to the General Election, county employees will be bracing themselves for hard times because they have not been paid their July salaries.

"Most staff in the county governments may not be paid their July salaries on time because the national government has yet to upload the budgeted funds for 2016/17 on the financial system," said Council of Governors Finance Committee Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya.

"To date there is no indication that money from last year's budget will be released any time soon. How long is the national government continuing frustrating counties?" asked the Kakamega governor yesterday.

The enactment of the Division of Revenue Bill, 2017, was held up in Parliament because of a dispute over an additional Sh29 billion proposed by the Senate and opposed by the National Assembly.

Failure to upload the budgeted figure on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) has also been blamed for the delay in the disbursement of funds to counties.

Even though the two Houses agreed to allocate counties Sh341 billion this financial year, paving the way for the introduction of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2017, the funds have not been uploaded to the Ifmis.

Conditional grants

In the 2017/2018 financial year, the 47 counties will share Sh341 million consisting of Sh302 billion of equitable share of revenue, Sh23 billion in conditional grants and a further Sh16.4 billion in conditional allocations from loans and grants from development partners.

But this amount has not yet been made available for spending by the counties.

While staff in the national government whose budget was passed in March have received their salaries, those in the counties will have to wait longer as those charged with the responsibility of paying them are busy with electioneering.

The genesis of the delay was when both the Senate and the National Assembly failed to agree on the amount to be allocated to county governments just before Parliament went on recess.

The Division of Revenue Bill 2017 collapsed and was re-introduced in the National Assembly with adjustments made by the Budget and Appropriation Committee chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi, which was still a subject of mediation with the Senate.

When the two Houses agreed to allocate counties Sh341 billion, this paved the way for another Bill, the Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2017.

Both were time-barred.

It was not until July 6 that President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the County Allocation of Revenue Bill 2017, which paved the way for counties to develop their budgets.

Revenue Bill

But the time was not enough to enable the amount to be approved by the Controller of Budget for disbursement.

Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge was not available to comment on the matter.

In the counties, workers have to find a way to survive as they wait for their salaries to be paid.

"The earliest period in which money can be released to the counties may be September. Before then, there are pending bills," explained Oparanya. 

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