Council of Governors decry perennial delay of county funds
Council of Governors (CoG) has decried perennial delays in disbursement of county funds by the National Treasury citing lack of goodwill on the part of national government in realizing the letter and the spirit of devolution.
The delay according to the CoG chair, JosphatNanok, had left all the counties in a precarious position where operations have had to be pushed to near close down.
He said all operations in the counties had been affected following post-time disbursement of funds including developments projects, payment of salaries and settling service providers’ dues.
Nanok said untimely release of funds has been the biggest hurdle in the implementation of devolution, saying for any meaningful progress to be realized, both tiers of government must cooperate and engage genuinely.
CoG chair who is also Turkana County Governor was speaking in Nyeri during the official opening of a two-day sixth annual conference of constitutional commissions and independent offices.
He said basic services have almost stopped, as the counties are not able to pay service providers who have been blaming them for failing to honor their part of the bargain on time.
The chair pointed out that workers had also not been spared, as they had to go for months without pay dampening their drive to work.
He said that not only should county funds be released on time, but also scaled up given that most of the functions have been delegated to counties.
At the same time, the chair, called on Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) to further look into the issue of salaries with a view to lowering the country’s “runaway” wage bill further.
He said the commission should look into staff rationalization in the counties including ridding them of unskilled and unproductive labor force as means of cutting down of recurrent expenditure.
“For the country’s economy to grow, more resources should be put in investments and not in paying salaries and allowances,” said Nanok.
Constitutional commissions and independent offices chairperson, Agnes Odhiambo, said one of the hurdles in the implementation of the new constitution was limited civic awareness.
She said majority of the citizens did not understand the provisions of the constitution to the extent that they were able to agitate for their rights as well as hold public officers to account when they violated the same.
Nyeri Governor, Mutahi Kahiga, said the new constitution implementation journey had posed some challenges that needed to be addressed going forward especially in transition issues.
He cited the county transition law as a gray area that needed to be addressed, saying he had fallen victim following the death of his predecessor, Wahome Gakuru, yet having no authority to appoint a deputy.
By Samuel Waititu