Economy

Governors threaten to shut county services

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Council of Governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Governors have threatened to shut down county services and send home staff in two weeks if the Senate fails to resolve the Revenue Sharing stalemate.
  • Counties are facing a cash crisis after senators failed to strike a deal on the formula for sharing Sh316.5 billion among the 47 devolved units.
  • The stalemate has resulted to a three-month delay in release of the equitable share, making it impossible for counties to pay salaries and allowances for health workers amid the covid-19 pandemic.

Governors have threatened to shut down county services and send home staff in two weeks if the Senate fails to resolve the Revenue Sharing stalemate.

Counties are facing a cash crisis after senators failed to strike a deal on the formula for sharing Sh316.5 billion among the 47 devolved units.

The stalemate has resulted to a three-month delay in release of the equitable share, making it impossible for counties to pay salaries and allowances for health workers amid the covid-19 pandemic.

“If the prevailing situation persists, effective Thursday September 17 2020, counties will have no choice but to shut down,” Council of Governors chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya said in a statement Thursday.

He said upon lapse of the two-week ultimatum, county government services will not be available since the employees will proceed on leave until the matter is resolved.

County governors have repeatedly blamed delayed disbursements for their woes, including industrial action and stalled projects.

This financial year, health workers in Nairobi, Homa Bay, Kisumu, Siaya and Kisii counties have so far either issued strike notice or downed their tools over payment of salaries.

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

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

Mr Oparanya said the Senate had failed to safeguard the interest of the counties by failing to pass the 3rd generation formula.

“To this end, we hereby forewarn the Senate that a Petition for its dissolution can be initiated by any member of the public through the High Court as provided for under Article258 of the Constitution,” he said.

The formula is needed to guide the enactment of the yet to be approved County Allocation of Revenue (CAR) Bill, 2020.

The Bill provides for the sharing of revenue raised nationally between the two levels of government as well as guides release of cash to counties from the Consolidated Fund.

The Legislators are sharply divided over the formula that would see 19 counties drawn mainly from the North, Coast and Lower Eastern counties lose a cumulative of Sh42 billion while 28 others stand to gain.