Governors want cash released to fight virus
By Protus Onyango
| July 28th 2020
Delayed disbursement of funds and medical supplies, inadequate staff and idle medical equipment are hampering the fight against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in counties.
Governors also want Kenyans to be given cash to cushion them against the effects of the virus and government, through the Ministry of Education, to release funds to pay staff employed by public schools.
They also want clarity on a number of policy pronouncements made by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe as they said most of them are yet to be implemented.
These are among the demands governors gave during the fifth virtual Extra-ordinary Session of the National and County Governments Co-ordinating Summit yesterday.
Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said the county bosses risk failing to contain the coronavirus if their proposals are not urgently addressed.
The meeting, chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, discussed the effects of the containment measures of Covid-19 which has so far affected 44 counties.
"Despite the end of the Financial Year 2019/2020, counties are yet to receive disbursements for the month of June and July. We seek your intervention for the immediate release of these funds, failure to which counties will grind to a halt and it will be difficult to fight Covid-19," Oparanya told Kenyatta.
The governors said that since the negotiations on the third generation formula is dragging, they should access their budgets immediately the Senate passes the formula. The Senate is expected to vote on the formula at its sitting today afternoon.
The county bosses lamented that it is not only the above cash they have not received.
"Counties are yet to receive Sh4.6 billion conditional grants from World Bank which are being held at the National Treasury. These funds are key in enabling counties to support the Kazi Mitaani Initiative," Oparanya said.
The governors want these funds to be factored into the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) 20/21 to enable them flow to the counties.
The council also expressed concerns over the non-payment of support staff in public primary and secondary schools.
"Prior to the closure of schools, the monies for capitation sent to public primary and secondary schools was used to pay support staff in educational facilities. Since schools are closed, we request that a resolution be passed to release funds to pay personnel emoluments to support staff and utilities in public primary and secondary schools," Oparanya said.
The county chiefs want the Ministry of Health to expedite completion of health projects under the Equalisation Fund and hand over these projects to the counties.
"In view of the pandemic, we want counties to be involved in the determination of administration of the Equalisation Fund. We urge the Summit to resolve that the Ministry of Health expedites the completion of the ongoing health projects and thereafter initiate a joint inspection before handing over the same to the respective counties," Oparanya said.
He said even the Sh850 million that was to be shared among 17 border counties has not been disbursed to date.
Oparanya said counties are working towards attaining the minimum 300-bed capacity.
"However, the supporting infrastructure for the 300-bed capacity has not been put in place due to lengthy procurement procedures," he said.
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