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Legal vacuum delays counties economic bloc activities

Eugene Wamalwa
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

County economic blocs will have to wait longer before implementing flagship projects as the Ministry of Devolution prepares a legal framework to guide their operations.

The regional blocs are facing challenges like inability to open joint bank accounts and integrating joint projects in their annual budgets since they are not anchored in law.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa on Wednesday said that a team of experts was working on amendments to the Public Finance Management Act and the County Government Act to allow allow seamless pooling of resources and making a budget.

“There are limitations in the law that we need to change so that we can resolve issues with opening of bank accounts and also include the county assemblies in the approval of budgets and oversight,” he said,during a public participation on the Draft County Economic Blocs Policy in Nyeri.

He did not give a timeframe for the legislation.

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The forum brought together governors and county executives from Mt Kenya.

Governors Mutahi Kahiga, Kiraitu Murungi and Francis Kimemia raised concerns on the regional blocs’ borrowing power, delays in releasing funds to counties and the inclusion of county assemblies in the approval of budgets for the blocs.

Mr Murungi suggested that the blocs be anchored in the Constitution to ensure their continuity.

Mr Kahiga said the inclusion of MCAs in the activities of regional blocs would strain relationships between the executive and the assembly should the latter shoot down ambitious plans.

Mr Kimemia, who chairs the Central Kenya bloc said that the flagship projects will focus on trade, agriculture and value addition.

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