Counties, Treasury set for first peer review summit

The National Treasury building in Nairobi.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Counties and the National Treasury will this month hold the inaugural summit to review the performance of devolution and map the way forward in a bid to boost economic growth and service delivery at the units.

The Kenyan office of the New Partnership for Africa's Development- African Peer Review Mechanism(Nepad-APRM) and 12 counties that have undergone self-assessment under the initiative will headline the summit set for June 26.

Kenya rolled out devolution in 2013 but it has been a mixed bag of successes and failures with economic policies, taxation, revenue collection, and prudent use of public funds being the major bottlenecks.

“County Peer Review Mechanism (CPRM) will promote good governance practices and facilitate peer learning of best practices for balanced socio-economic development across the country,” Nepad /APRM Kenya says.

CPRM is a multi-agency tool to be used in not only the promotion and entrenchment of good governance across the counties.

Nepad /APRM Kenya has already undertaken public surveys, getting insights on the successes and challenges facing county leaderships in Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nyeri, Machakos, Makueni, Mombasa, Siaya, Busia, Vihiga and Kakamega.

The data was incorporated into the self-assessment reports of the 12 counties that will form the basis for the summit to be held this month at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

Peer reviews by the counties are also key in helping the units to fit their development agenda into the country’s Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

Nepad is the economic development programme of the African Union and was formed more than two decades ago to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable development, integrate Africa into the global economy, and accelerate the empowerment of women.

Counties have since 2013 dismally missed revenue targets, spent significantly huge amounts of money on salaries and allowances, and squeezed funds for development besides perennial issues of flawed procurement leading to losses of billions and stalled projects.

For example, in the financial year that ended June 2023, counties collected Sh37.81 billion against a target of Sh57.37 billion. The units have also been breaching the law regarding expenditure on development projects compared to that on salaries, allowances, and benefits.

The devolved units have also been on the spot over poor delivery of health services and roads, with the failures attributed to poor decisions and lack of prudence in the use of money.

Counties are also grappling with questionable policies on taxation and economy which have significantly hit the investor climate.

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