Governors to sue State over delayed cash

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021 00:00 |
CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya (centre) flanked by his colleagues. Photo/PD/File

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

The Council of Governors (CoG) yesterday threatened to go to court to compel the National Treasury to release county funds.

In a letter to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani , CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya has also threatened to shut down county services to minimise further damage and suffering of employees.

“We note with utmost concern that County Governments have not received disbursements for October, November, December 2020 and January, 2021,”  the letter, which  was copied to Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Kenneth Lusaka.

“Some counties have not even received the September disbursement bringing the total balance to Sh94.7 billion,” it adds. 

According to the Kakamega county boss, the delayed disbursement has hindered service delivery during the wake of Covid-19 pandemic; when County Governments are expected to be at the frontline in offering health services.

In addition, County Government Civil Servants have not been paid salaries for the three months unlike their National Government counterparts who have been paid all their dues and statutory deductions made. 

Article 219 of the Constitution as read together with section 17(6) of the Public Finance Management Act provides for timely disbursement of the equitable share of revenue.

Stringent timelines

Notwithstanding the above, CoG notes that National Treasury has failed to disburse the same despite the stringent timelines set out in law.

“Delay in disbursement of these funds has negatively affected lives of County Government Civil Servants and service delivery in the following aspects; failure of payment to contractors, and failure of development budget implementation and failure of submission of statutory deduction,” he said. 

“This is so despite the fact that the civil servants and public officers at National Government continue to receive their salaries in good time,” Oparanya’s letter  continued.

“The purpose of this letter is to ask your office to urgently expedite disbursement of equitable share to County Governments to ensure uninterrupted service delivery,” he held.

Tharaka Nithi Senator Prof Kithure Kindiki has lashed out at CoG, claiming it is a pale shadow of its past. 

Instead of focusing to protect devolution by resisting National Government attempts to undermine the funding and autonomy of counties, Senator Kindiki claims CoG is today clueless.

“Its leadership only makes occasional appearances at National Government events to be seen but not to be heard,” said the Senator in a statement to People Daily on Monday.

During his tenure as Senate Majority Leader, Prof Kindiki alleged CoG abandoned the Senate to struggle alone for more resources for counties within a very hostile environment of a National Assembly and a National Treasury that are yet to accept that a well-resourced devolved system is the only way of ensuring a stable and equitably developed Kenya. 

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