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Treasury disburses Sh153bn to counties in seven months

Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani
Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury’s disbursements to counties increased by Sh3.1 billion in the seven months to January, amid a push to clear debts to ease cash-flow challenges for suppliers and contractors.

Data published in the Kenya Gazette shows that disbursements increased to Sh153.3 billion from Sh150.2 billion during the same period a year ago.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has maintained that releasing the equitable share of revenue to counties will depend on honouring verified bills.

This came in the wake of ballooning pending bills in counties that had led to cash-flow problems for contractors and suppliers, crippling their operations.

By the end of January, the 47 devolved units had paid out Sh33.35 billion, which helped settle 59.28 percent of the Sh51.2 billion pending bills validated by the Auditor-General as of June 2019.

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The Treasury ordered the audit after pending bills in counties rose from Sh37.8 billion in the year ending June 2015 to over Sh108 billion as of June 2018.

The audit showed that only those amounting to Sh51.2 billion out of the total outstanding bills by June 2018 were eligible for payment.

Stalled projects

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

The devolved units were starved of cash for three months to September, resulting in delays in paying suppliers and workers’ salaries.

The delay was caused by a stalemate over a bill that guides revenue sharing between the national government and the regional governments.

The first disbursement to the counties was Sh55.5 billion, which hit the counties’ Revenue Fund accounts within a week after the Senate approved a disbursement schedule.

The schedule guides the Treasury on how to release funds and helps counties in making their budgets.

In the latest disbursements, Nairobi got the lion’s share (Sh7.1 billion), followed by Kilifi (Sh5.9 billion), Kitui (Sh5 billion) and Kakamega (Sh4.9 billion).

Lamu and Kirinyaga received the least (Sh1.5 billion) followed by Isiolo and Samburu at Sh1.6 billion and Sh1.7 billion, respectively.

The total equitable share allocation to counties in the year starting July is Sh316.5 billion.

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