Counties

Treasury funds to counties up Sh12bn in four months

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National Treasury building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Counties struggled to pay salaries and allowances for health workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic following a stalemate at the Senate.
  • The county bosses blame the delayed disbursements for their woes, including worker strikes and stalled projects.

Treasury’s disbursements to counties increased by Sh12 billion in the four months to October compared to the same period last, offering a cash flow boost to the devolved units amid coronavirus economic hardships.

Data published in the Kenya Gazette shows disbursements increased to Sh78.4 billion from Sh66.1 billion during the same period a year ago.

Counties struggled to pay salaries and allowances for health workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic following a stalemate at the Senate on a formula for sharing Sh316.5 billion among the 47 devolved units.

In September, governors threatened to shut down county services and send home staff home if Senators failed to resolve the three-month stalemate.

“If the prevailing situation persists, effective Thursday, September 17, counties will have no choice but to shut down,” Council of Governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya said at the time.

A month later, the National Assembly approved the County Allocation of Revenue Bill 2020, paving the way for the release of funds to counties.

The county bosses blame the delayed disbursements for their woes, including worker strikes and stalled projects.

This financial year, health workers in Nairobi, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya and Kisii either issued strike notice or downed their tools over pay hitches.

Last year, at a similar time, at least 20 counties risked total paralysis in operations after employees threatened to go on strike due to delays in payment of their July salary.

At the time, the cash crunch as a result of delays in approving two Bills that provide for sharing of national revenue between the devolved units and the national government.