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Raila meets CoG officials amid county funds pleas

NATIONAL
By Erick Abuga | June 9th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Council of Governors Chairperson Martin Wambora and Kisii Governor James Ongwae.[Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga met with the Council of Governors amid calls for the speedy release of funds to counties.

The majority of the counties have not initiated some key development projects since March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

Raila yesterday met with the council’s fifth chairman Martin Wambora, who is also the Embu governor, Kisii Governor James Ongwae (vice-chairman), the outgoing CoG Chief Executive Jacqueline Mogeni and Mary Mwiti, who will be the acting CEO.

They held the talks at Raila’s Capital Hill office in Nairobi, which he had not visited since March 12 when he tested positive for Covid-19.

“Great to be back to office for brief talks with the Council of Governors’ officials,” he said.

Mr Ongwae said they paid Raila a courtesy call to discuss devolution. “We held discussions on matters of devolution and how to improve services in our counties,” he said.

The Council of Governors together with other devolution partners are organising the 7th Annual Devolution Conference, which will be held from August 23 to 26 at Makueni Boys High School in Makueni County.

The theme of the conference is, “Multi-level governance for climate action: Sub-national mobilisation in unlocking the full potential of climate action during and after pandemics.”

Last week, Wambora said the delay to release funds has affected response to Covid-19, payment of pending bills and service delivery to the public. “As a matter of urgency, we call upon the National Treasury to immediately release these funds to counties.”

As at May 26, the county government equitable share disbursements for the Financial Year 2020/2021 was Sh242 billion (inclusive of Sh26.9 billion arrears for the financial year 2019/2020).

On May 27, the CoG held a full meeting after the election of new officials in January.

In the meeting, the governors noted that the Senate committee has already gazetted a legal instrument that guides the flow of conditional grants to the counties which the Controller of Budget will utilise to approve requisition of conditional and non-conditional funds.

The council is set to have a new CEO after President Kenyatta appointed Ms Mogeni judge to the Environment and Lands Court.

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