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Blow to governors as Ruto snubs plea to increase county funds by KES 37B

Governors have suffered a major blow after President William Ruto signed the recently launched Division of Revenue Bill, 2023 into law, snubbing their plea for more funds.

Following Ruto’s assent, counties will receive KES 385.4 billion in the 2023-2024 financial year as compared to the current KES 370 billion.

While this represents a KES 15.4 billion increase in county Equitable Share, county bosses had demanded for KES 37 billion more in the coming financial year starting July 1.

Council of Governance chairperson Anne Waiguru earlier this week expressed dissatisfaction with the Senate over the vote on the Division of Revenue Bill.

“This is a new low for a House of Parliament Constitutionally mandated to represent the Counties and serve to protect devolution. We note with concern that in the history of devolution, the senate has never voted against the spirit of devolution in as far as the increase of resources is concerned,” Waiguru said.

“We call upon the Senate to uphold their primary mandate that County Governments are well-resourced in order to perform their functions optimally.”

On its part, the government said the new figure is equivalent to 23 percent of the accounts of revenue for 2019/2020 — the most recent audit approved by the National Assembly.

To reduce development imbalances in the country, the Equalisation Fund was allocated KES8.3 Billion.

This is an increase of KES1.2 Billion from the current financial year’s allocation of KES7.1 Billion.

In the new development, the devolved units will also be allocated a further KES11.1 Billion as additional allocations from the National Government’s share of revenue.

Moreover, they will receive KES33.2 Billion as additional allocations from proceeds of loans and grants.

Thursday’s enactment at State House paves the way for the preparation of the annual expenditure estimates for the 2023/2024 financial year.

Governors have given the National government 14 days(which began on Monday) to release county monies arrears failure to which they have threatened to shut down all county services.

“…the Council of Governors hereby issues a 14 days’ notice to shut down Counties if February, March and April arrears are not released within two weeks.”

Counties are currently owed KES 94.35 billion after the National Treasury last week cleared KES 31 billion out of the KES 125 billion arrears.

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