EDITORIAL: Let counties access half of their budget money

National Treasury building
National Treasury building. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The impasse at the Senate over the criteria for allocating resources to counties looks set to run for a while, with various camps in the debate having hardened their stance on the matter.

In the meantime, counties have continued to go without cash, and with that a host of problems are likely to crop up in service delivery to Kenyans.

The state of the economy at the moment does not give those in power much room to play politics with national resources.

The Covid-19 pandemic that is spreading fast requires that counties be on their best guard to contain infections, given that the health function has been devolved. In order to do this, they need access to their budgetary allocations, given that many have very poor records of collecting own-source revenue.

They need money to set up isolation centres, buy medicine and pay health workers, whose input in saving lives during the pandemic is critical, but is sadly not appreciated enough.


Beyond the present health crisis, counties are also a vital cog in ensuring that cash flows through the economy. Businesses rely on payments for services rendered to county governments in order to afford to pay their staff, make new orders and deliveries and generally keep money flowing through people’s pockets.

The same applies to contractors, who rely on regular payments from the county governments to complete infrastructure projects that are in turn vital in supporting and building businesses and opening up new opportunities in the country.

With this in mind, it is important for the national government and legislators to ensure that counties do not grind to a halt as they await the conclusion of the endless debate on how to allocate funds.

The Treasury should therefore move with speed to invoke the section of the Constitution that allows for the allocation of half of the money due to counties before the passage of the necessary Bills guiding the same.

This will ensure that Kenyans continue to receive vital services especially in the health sector at a time when the need for support from their government is at its highest.