CoG wants presidential aspirants’ commitment to defend devolution
Governors yesterday urged all presidential aspirants to join the Council of Governors in pushing for timely disbursement of funds to counties.
Council Vice-Chairman James Ongwae of Kisii said the aspirants should commit to not only defend devolution but also ensure counties are granted their allocation on time, even before the August 9 General-Election.
He made the remarks as he dismissed reports that counties have not utilised the already released funds, saying they are cash strained due to delayed disbursements of funds.
“We are concerned by the violation of the law and the perennial delays in disbursement of the county equitable share by the National Treasury,” said Ongwae, who spoke from CoG headquarters in Nairobi.
Ongwae said failure to release funds will see CoG seek legal redress to resolve the recurrent delay in disbursement of funds to counties.
He said under the Division of Revenue Act 2021, counties were allocated an equitable share of revenue amounting to Sh370 billion but they only received Sh221.6 billion despite being two months to the end of the Financial Year.
He said the outstanding balance for the Financial Year 2021/22 is Sh148.89 billion.
Ongwae also said the outstanding amount owed to counties as per the disbursement schedule stands at Sh87.34 billion with Sh8.26 billion owed to 11 county governments for January allocation. Another Sh16.2 billion is owed to 23 counties for February allocation and Sh29.6 billion owed to 47 devolved units for March allocation.
He also said Sh33.3 billion is owed to all counties for April allocation.
“While Kenyans continue to demand for services from counties, operations at the national government remains uninterrupted while county services are paralysed and nearly grinding to a halt. We call upon Treasury to expedite the release of these funds without further delay,” said Ongwae.
He said they will also engage Central Bank, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Controller of Budget and Treasury to provide for an overdraft facility that will help cushion counties from the delay in disbursements of funds.
Similarly, in view of the current political landscape and the upcoming elections, he said the council has commenced its preparations to ensure proper management of transition in counties and ultimately Assumption of Office of the Governors.
“The Assumption to office of the Governor Act 2019, provides for various processes to be undertaken. The law also provides for the establishment of an ad hoc Committee, for smooth transition,” he explained.
Ongwae also stated that CoG has developed an advocacy tool on devolution to guide stakeholders to pitch strategic issues, especially to presidential aspirants.
He said the 11- point advocacy messages are the irreducible minimum agenda for devolution and county governments.