Governors threaten to shut down counties next week if Treasury fails to disburse Ksh.102.6B


Governors threaten to shut down counties next week if Treasury fails to disburse Ksh.102.6B
Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Martin Wambora during a past address. PHOTO / COURTESY

County governments will be forced to shut down by June 24, 2021 if the National Treasury fails to disburse Ksh.102.6 billion owed to them.

This is according to Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Martin Wambora who, in a press address on Monday, faulted Treasury for what he termed as violation of the law.

Wambora, who is also the Embu  Governor, said Treasury is yet to disburse the said amount yet it is just 2 weeks to the end of the financial year.

He said this is also in spite of a stipulation by the County Governments Cash Disbursement Schedule for the Financial Year 2020/21 generated by Treasury and approved by Senate in line with the Public Finance Management (PFM) act stating that resources should be disbursed on the 15th day of every month.

Governor Wambora broke down the Ksh.102.6 billion as: Ksh.3.5 billion owed to Nairobi County Government as arrears for the financial year 2019/2020; Ksh.2.6 billion owed to Nairobi County Government for January and another Ksh.1.4 billion for February.

Ksh.14.4 billion is also owed to 25 County Governments for March while Ksh.28.5 billion is owed to 47 County Governments for April, Ksh.25.3 billion for May, and Ksh.26.9 billion for June.

The CoG Chairman hence stated that, owing to this, counties are unable to meet their statutory obligations and fiscal responsibilities such as payment of employees’ salaries, remittance of employees’ statutory deductions, payment of suppliers’ eligible pending bills, implementation of development projects, and derailed response in the fight against COVI D-19 pandemic.

“The continued delay in disbursement is eroding gains made in devolved governance and affecting the economic growth in the counties. Treasury has not only failed to comply with the constitution but even with its own document- the Cash Disbursement Schedule, 2020,” said Governor Wambora.

“This has seen counties stigmatized for failing to offer critical services especially now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, for what is beyond them. While Kenyans continue to demand services from the County Governments, operations at the National Government continue uninterrupted owing to timely financing from the National Treasury, while those operations in the Counties are slowly grinding to a halt. This should not be tolerated by those who support the success of devolution in Kenya.”

Governor Wambora stated that counties will be unable to clear their pending bills amounting to Ksh.11.5 billion as directed by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani during his budget speech if the funds are not disbursed to the devolved units.

“We appeal to the Senate, the custodian of devolution, to support counties in this call for timely disbursement as the law provides for efficient service delivery. Operations across counties are currently paralyzed,” he stated.

“Today is the 14th June 2021, 16 days remaining to the closure of this Financial Year. In this regard, The National Treasury SHOULD release these funds by 18th June 2021.”

He further added: “This will offer Counties the remaining 8 working days to satisfy the stringent requirements by the Controller of Budget in accessing and spending the funds. Unfortunately, if the National Treasury fails to release the required funds, counties will not be able to offer basic service thereby forcing suspension of services or a total shut down by 24the June 2021.”

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