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Six county cars grounded as Governor Tolgos’ effects austerity measures

RIFT VALLEY
By Stephen Rutto | February 7th 2019
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.

The Elgeyo Marakwet county government has grounded vehicles as part of austerity measures.

Governor Alex Tolgos (right) yesterday said the county had been left with no option after the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) declined to listen to their pleas for a ‘favourable’ allocation in its new revenue allocation formula.

"We have so far grounded six vehicles used by county executive committee (CEC) members and we have asked the staff to reduce spending on travel," Mr Tolgos said.

The governor said the move would cut car insurance costs and minimise unnecessary travel.

"I am the only governor in Kenya who uses one official car. I am often forced to borrow a car from a CEC whenever my vehicle is taken for service," he said, adding that the county had not bought new cars for the last two years.

Vehicles assigned to the health, finance, agriculture and environment departments, as well as to the County Public Service Board and the office of chief of staff are among those that have been left to gather dust in the cost-cutting initiative.

Tolgos said that the CRA’s second formula, which was unveiled last year, reduces cash allocations to counties with small populations like Elgeyo Marakwet, Lamu, Isiolo and Tharaka Nithi.

"I have lost hope in the CRA. We have explained to them our problems and they listened but they failed to act. Right now we don't meet minimum expenditure," he said.

The CRA has proposed that counties will no longer get a share of national revenue based on population but will instead be judged on how well they used allocated funds to deliver services to residents.

The county boss said his administration had also slammed the brakes on the training of county staff to cut recurrent expenditure.

His deputy, Wisley Rotich, warned that counties that receive less than Sh5 billion from the National Treasury may close shop due to lack of money to conduct their daily operations.

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