Governors fear delayed release of Sh90b will affect service delivery

Kakamega Governor Fernanendes Barasa (right) and the County Commissioner John Ondego during celebrations to mark Jamhuri day at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega on December 12, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Governors led by their Finance and Economic Affairs Committee Chair in the governor’s council Fernandes Barasa have called on the national government to quicken the release of the equitable share for the seamless running of counties.

Governors Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma), Wilber Otichillo (Vihiga) and Paul Otuoma (Busia) called on the National Treasury to fast-track the release of the monies as they were straining to offer services. Mr Barasa, who is Kakamega governor, expressed concern service delivery was being derailed by sporadic disbursement of funds from the National Government even after raising the issues with the Treasury PS. 

“Counties have so far received only Sh122.1b this Financial Year, being disbursements for the months of June, July, August and September. We are, however, in arrears of Sh90.65b for the months of October, November and December,” he said on Monday during Jamhuri Day celebrations.

“I call upon the National Government to release the said equitable share to counties in line with the provisions of Article 219 of the Constitution. I have since communicated officially to the Principal Secretary National Treasury to process these arrears to enable Kenyans to continue enjoying services.”

The sentiments come in the wake of an October report “Comprehensive Own Source Revenue Potential and Tax Gap Study of County Governments” by the Commission son Revenue Allocation and World Bank which says counties have the potential to collect up to Sh216b in revenue from their key revenue streams compared to the present Sh31b annually.

When governors met on December 5, they asked for the speedy release of the funds opposing the Treasury’s proposal of giving it based on absorption rates of counties. They said the balances in different county revenue funds were not a result of under-absorption, but due to the delay by the Controller of Budget to approve requisitions.

The governors at the same time accused the office of the Controller of Budget of overreaching its mandate which caused the delays.