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Governors: Slash ministries' budgets to support counties

 Wajir Governor Abdullahi Ahmed.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Governors have appealed to the national government to slash the budget from Ministries and channel the funds to the counties to allow them to offer reliable services.

They argue that some ministries and departments run functions that are already devolved but are still being allocated huge amounts.

This came out Friday, during a meeting between the Council of Governors and the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the National Assembly chaired by Kiharu Member of Parliament Ndindi Nyoro.

Their deliberations touched on policy recommendations as contained in the 2024 Budget Policy Statement.

“It is the first time that the governors have been invited to give our suggestions and generally on the issue of budget policy statement," Council’s vice chairperson and Wajir Governor Abdulahi Ahmed stated.

Abdullahi added "I believe this will allow us a chance to resolve other matters,”

The Council noted that up to Sh262 billion has been allocated to the national government yet most of the functions they are running are either being carried out by counties.

The governors questioned why the national government is still holding on to monies meant for counties yet, they have variously said they fully support devolution.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang who is the Council’s chief whip said a recent report by the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee revealed the truths on monies the National Government doesn’t want to release to counties.

“If released, the funds owed to the counties would play a critical role in turning around key functions run by counties such as health, agriculture and early childhood development,” Sang noted.

On his part Tharaka Nithi governor Muthomi Njuki who is the CoG health committee chair observed that the health ministry budget ought to be slashed by about Sh50 billion and that money sent to counties.

He explained that the health ministry has a budget of up to Sh147 billion yet counties are given a budget of Sh110 billion and also run most of the hospital facilities.

Njuki regretted that a number of devolved functions were still being run by the national government.

Mombasa Governor Abdullswamad Nassir supported the suggestion by his counterparts for the Ministry of Health budget to be slashed.

“We are asking you to place the money where it is being consumed, we are the ones who are buying the disposables, we are the ones who are paying the doctors and we are doing everything that needs to be done,” Swamad stated.

Pointing out, “We are paying for medicines, power bills for health facilities, we are proposing the increase to the counties from the 36 per cent which one ministry is getting,”

Apart from the Ministry of Health, the governors also suggested that the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture ought to be slashed.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Ndindi Nyoro noted that all the issues raised by the governors were crucial and appealed for plenary for both sides to discuss extensively.

Nyoro noted that the topic touching on sharing of resources was crucial and the Committee will try its best to see that some of the issues raised by governors are met.

“This agenda is real, credible, timely and we should all embrace it, we will be sitting to make decisions and I'm sure we will do our best,” he told the governors. 

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