The National Treasury Ukur Yatani has said that the County Governments are expected to receive an allocation of Sh.39 billion in a bid to ward off paralysis of critical services in the devolved units.
Addressing the Senate Finance and Budget Committee earlier today, CS Yatani said that The National Treasury is in advanced efforts to disburse the funds to the counties to cover money owing for the March and April months.
“We will endeavour to send Sh38 billion to Sh39 billion by the end of Friday,” he told the senators.
The Cabinet Secretary defended his ministry’s failure to timely send out the money to the counties, and instead blamed it on the challenges of revenue collection and harsh economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. He further, refuted accusations from the Council of Governors who had yesterday lamented of unfairness and unwillingness of Treasury to support devolution operations.
The Council of Governors chairman, Martin Wambora yesterday warned of the impending shutdown of county operations if the National Government doesn’t disburse the devolution allocation funds by June 24.
In a statement sent to the press, the Embu Governor expressed displeasure with the Government’s failure to send the allocation to the counties as required by law. Wambora reiterated that the situation will hamper devolution operations and delivery of services to the people.
“Today is June 14, ten days remaining to the closure of this financial year. In this regard, the National Treasury should release the funds by June 18 to offer counties the remaining eight working days to satisfy the stringent requirements by the Controller of Budget in accessing and spending the funds.”
According to the Division of Revenue Act 2020, the county governments were allocated equitable share of o Sh316.5 billion while the National Government got Sh1.5 trillion. The law also provides for the timely disbursement of the funds by Treasury to the respective counties. Mr Wambora added that the Central Government has over the years flouted the law regarding disbursement of funds to counties, pointing a finger of blame on the Treasury for sluggishness.
“It is imperative for Kenyans to understand that financing counties by the Treasury is not a favour but constitutional obligation.”
The Council of Governors has been at loggerheads with the national government over the disbursement of funds to the devolved units. They have often times accused the Treasury of reluctance to release money for grassroot development. The counties have also been bedevilled by constant challenges such as delayed salaries, stalled projects, corruption, poor delivery of services and strained relationship with the Government. It remains to be seen if the two units of governance will iron out their differences and allow smooth devolution for economic progress.