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Report details functions national government is reluctant to cede

COUNTIES
By Roselyne Obala | July 30th 2013

By Roselyne Obala

Nairobi, Kenya: The national and county governments are tussling over their roles with the latest report detailing major functions the former is reluctant to cede.

The 36-page document prepared by the Transitional Authority (TA) titled The final transfer of Functions-merged details the devolved functions and those erroneously assigned to counties that should be reversed.

Mega projects under the Ministry of Health, key infrastructural projects like the rural electrification projects for which the report says “the Sh7.21 billion budget should be reinstated to the National Government” are among the sticking points.

TA’s chairman Kinuthia WaMwangi says they were able to unbundle the functions from the health ministries including provincial general hospitals, district health services/district and sub-district hospitals, rural health centres and dispensaries.

While under personal emoluments staff in service will account for Sh35 billion and in the devolved functions, staff contracted through the Economic Stimulus Package need to be absorbed into the public service.

“The Sh4.1 billion allocated for this purpose has been devolved to the counties and needs to be reversed,”the report states.

The latest developments comes against the backdrop of protests by governors over a week ago when CIC informed them that the gazettment of functions had been delayed because they lack capacity to take over the functions.

The 14 assigned functions to counties under Schedule Four of the Constitution include agriculture, health, control of air pollution, noise pollution, other public nuisance, cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities, county transport, animal control and welfare, trade development and regulation.

Others include, county planning and development, pre-primary education, village polytechnics, home craft centres and child care facilities, implementation of specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation, county public works and services, fire-fighting services and disaster management and Control of drugs and pornography.

The last function is for counties to ensure and coordinate the participation of communities and locations in governance at the local level to develop the administrative capacity for the effective exercise of the functions and powers and participation in governance.

 County governments will be required to take over county health facilities and pharmacies, ambulance services; promote primary health care, license and control the sale of food to the public and veterinary services, which excludes regulation of the profession.

 The ministry of Health is not ready to transfer the staff and promised that they will be transferred to counties when their systems are functional after one year.

However, Governors Council chairman Isaac Ruto notes that this goes against the Constitution.

On Sunday, WaMwangi confirmed that they had unbundled some functions to be devolved to Counties.

He, however, disclosed that the TA’s work has been difficult as line ministries have been unwilling to give out information on the functions to be devolved.

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