Counties

NMS, Nairobi county row stalls Sh127m for health

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Governor Mike Sonko told Parliament that the conditional grants were meant for Universal Health Care project to support Level 2 and Level 3 facilities.
  • Governor Sonko transferred the health and three other functions in line with Article 187 of the Constitution in March to the National Government through the NMS but differences have emerged stalling service delivery to city residents.
  • Article 187(2) of the Constitution stipulates that arrangements shall be put in place to ensure that the resources necessary for the performance of the function or exercise of the power are transferred.

The row between Nairobi county government and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has stalled the utilisation of Sh127.2 million grant from the Danish government and the World Bank after the Treasury suspended the health sector budget operating system.

Governor Mike Sonko told Parliament that the conditional grants were meant for Universal Health Care project to support Level 2 and Level 3 facilities.

Governor Sonko transferred the health and three other functions in line with Article 187 of the Constitution in March to the National Government through the NMS but differences have emerged stalling service delivery to city residents.

Article 187(2) of the Constitution stipulates that arrangements shall be put in place to ensure that the resources necessary for the performance of the function or exercise of the power are transferred.

The national Treasury has since declined to release funds to Major General Mohammed Badi-led NMS citing the lack of a legal framework.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said there is no legal framework to transfer Nairobi County Government funds to the NMS currently domiciled in the executive office of the President.

In a letter tabled by Mr Sonko, Mr Yatani said monies can only be released to the Nairobi County Government through the County Revenue Fund.

Mr Yatani said Section 4(2) of County Allocation of Revenue Act, 2020 provides that each county government allocation shall be transferred to the respective County Revenue Fund.

“The funds are still lying idle in the Central Bank account as a result of suspension of the health sector budget Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) operating system by the National Treasury whereby it is now impossible for our accounting staff to process any payments for the transferred function through Ifmis,” Mr Sonko told the Health committee of the Senate.

He said the account was opened pursuant to guiltiness from Danida and World Bank which prohibit comingling of funds with other county finances.

“Our attempts to contact the National Treasury for intervention on the matter have been largely ignored hence the delay in the utilisation of funds at the expense of provision of quality healthcare service delivery,” Mr Sonko said.

The Senate Health committee heard that Sh17.6 million conditional grant from Danida that were received on April 30, 2020 is still lying unutilised in the County Revenue Fund account as the county has been blocked from accessing Ifmis.

Mr Sonko said the county cannot access a further Sh79.4 million received from the Ministry of Health through the national Treasury on June 4, 2020 for compensation for user fees foregone to be disbursed to level 2 and 3 public health facilities.

“The funds are currently held at the County Revenue Fund Account as it has become practically impossible to utilise them due to Ifmis budget withdrawal thus the county cannot process their disbursements,” Mr Sonko said.

Mr Sonko said Nairobi County owes the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) Sh374.9 million that was incurred prior to the transfer of health function to NMS. He said the bill stands unpaid due to lack of budget and finances to clear it.

“The health sector has pending bills amounting to Sh1,072,998390 comprising Sh801.9 million being recurrent expenditure and Sh270 million being development expenditure pending bills,” he said.