CoG threatens to sue over delayed disbursement of additional funds

Council of Governors Chairman Martin Wambora. [File, Standard]

The Council of Governors (CoG) has threatened to sue the National Treasury for delayed disbursement of grants and additional allocations to Counties in the FY 2021/22.

CoG wants the courts to compel the National Treasury to disburse the funds.

The council says the process of releasing the funds to the counties’ coffers has been delayed pending senate approval.

In a press release, the council’s chair Governor Martin Wambora said the delays have affected the county operations, a situation that has been escalated by the ongoing drought in 17 counties.

” These delays in disbursement leave the Council of Governors with no alternative other than to move to court to compel the National Treasury to release funds without further delay,” Wambora said.

“Given that there are less than three weeks remaining to the end of the financial year and Parliament is due to Adjourn Sine Die on 16th June 2022 it is important that the Senate approves the disbursement schedule,”

In his communication, Wambora has called on the Senate to give priority to the issue and convene a sitting to approve the disbursement schedule before breaking on June 16.

“However, this is not adequate and the situation is worsened as counties have not received their April, May and June 2022 shareable revenue,” Wambora has said.

He says the County Governments Additional Allocations Act, 2022 was assented to on 22nd April 2022 and commenced on 13th May 2022.

“This being the legal instrument that provides a framework for the disbursement of grants and additional allocations to Counties in the FY 2021/22, we take note that the Treasury has prepared a disbursement schedule as recommended by the Budget Committee of the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC),” he reiterated.

In April this year, counties complained of being broke.

They said the National Treasury had withheld about Sh100 billion in monthly disbursements from January. According to the CoG, the total amount owed to devolved units was Sh98.97 billion by March 24.

A breakdown of delayed disbursements provided by Finance Committee chairman Ndiritu Muriithi showed that 11 counties are owed Sh8.2 billion due in January, while 31 counties are owed Sh22.1 billion due in February.

Another Sh29.6 billion is owed to all the 47 counties for March.

Some Sh39 billion is owed to counties in the form of conditional grants pending the completion of the County Additional Allocation Bill as ordered by the courts.

“This Bill is stuck at Parliament after a disagreement between the National Assembly and the Senate and subsequent referral to the Mediation Committee, which has been unable to break the deadlock after several meetings,” Governor Muriithi said at the time.