Pandemic chocks Kiambu’s revenue and eats into budget
Kiambu County Government has lamented the adverse effects of Covid-19 on its revenue collection and expenditure.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro says the county has been spending Sh30,000 daily on every Covid-19 patient admitted in its facilities and put on oxygen. In a month, a patient is spending Sh0.6 million.
Speaking in an interview on Saturday, April 25, Nyoro said that none of the patients admitted in the county's medical facilities is charged for the coronavirus treatment and that his government meets the entire cost.
The matter has been made worse by the fact that revenue collections have dropped by more than half, from a weekly high of Sh 70 million previously to about 30 million currently.
"The third wave has seen the near collapse of our base revenue. We reduced fees and taxes by more than 50 per cent for PSVs including matatus and boda bodas besides waiving single business permits for traders in order to cushion them from the effects of the pandemic," Nyoro said in an interview.
He said the 40 percent of patients seeking treatment in his county's health facilities from other counties complicated matters and overstretched resources.
"We had to source funds from other departments like roads, water, agriculture and others with the approval of the county assembly so as to combat the Covid-19 crisis. Luckily we had already established isolation and treatment centers and installed bulk oxygen tanks in those facilities," Nyoro added.
As a result and to mitigate the situation, the county assembly is planning to pass a motion seeking to have funds allocation from the Treasury increased accordingly.
Speaking separately, County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho said a motion to that effect has been filed by a member and he will soon approve it.
“Kiambu handles patients from the neighbouring counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Nyandarua, Murang’a, Machakos and even Garissa. For that reason we shall be demanding more allocation towards our health budget since naturally we cannot turn away any patient,” said the Speaker.
Ndicho said the Kiambu assembly was hit hard by the pandemic leading to the death of an MCA and others being hospitalized. Consequently, he added, all meetings had to be suspended and businesses held virtually to contain any further spread.
He also said the assembly hall is too small for the 93 members and its expansion and modernization requires at least Sh 800 million.