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The mystery of unspent Covid-19 fund billions

By Moses Nyamori and Roselyne Obala | August 14th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani explains pandemic spending

The Ministry of Health has not utilised a single coin from a Covid-19 emergency supplies fund set up by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March this year.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani told the National Assembly Health Committee that the government had so far received a total of Sh134 billion from bilateral and multilateral partners to fight the pandemic.

“I wish further to inform you that domestically through the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund we have mobilised Sh9.9 billion, which has not been utilised to date,” the CS told MPs.

The CS said this yesterday when he appeared before MPs probing how Covid-19 funds have been utilised by both the county and national governments.

The emergency fund was established by the president following the outbreak of Covid-19 to help mobilise resources for purchasing essential supplies such as medicine, equipment, protective gear, test kits as well as securing quarantine facilities.

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The fund is also meant to support programmes and initiatives to cushion and provide emergency relief to the most vulnerable members of the society, especially the elderly and the poor in urban informal settlements.

The money collected under the fund was further meant to support and stimulate small and medium enterprises hit by the pandemic as well as enhance the capacity of the relevant research institutions handling Covid-19 surveillance.

Yatani told the committee chaired by Murang’a Woman Rep Sabina Chege that at least Sh130 billion from donors has been disbursed to the Health Ministry and other government support initiatives.

“The National Treasury has so far received Sh134.0 billion for the fight against Covid-19 from various bilateral and multilateral development partners out of which Sh130.4 billion was disbursed,” the CS told the committee.

“The balance will be utilised in the current financial year for continued Covid-19 pandemic interventions,” he said.

At the same time, Treasury said it has disbursed Sh9.7 billion to counties to help the devolved units fight the pandemic.

The disbursement of Sh9.7 billion from the National Government’s share of revenue included Sh5 billion which was distributed among counties using the equitable revenue share distribution formula.

The money was disbursed to fund requisite infrastructure for an urgent response to the pandemic.

Another Sh2.4 billion was distributed based on recommendations by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to supplement allowances for frontline healthcare workers.

Some Sh850 million was disbursed to cushion vulnerable populations in four counties.

Another Sh1.5 billion was ring-fenced by Parliament to go to Coast General Hospital (Sh500 million), Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (Sh400 million), Kitui Hospital (Sh300 million) and Mandera Hospital (Sh300 million) to respond to the surge of the disease in the surrounding areas.


Covid-19 Treasury Ministry of Health Ukur Yatani Coronavirus Kenya
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