Waiguru calls for immediate release of KES 125B owed to counties

The Council of Governor (COG) Chairperson, Anne Waiguru, has asked the National Treasury to release all the monies owed to the devolved units.

Waiguru said that the National Treasury owes counties an accumulated amount of KES 125. 8 billion being arrears for January, February, March and April 2023.

Addressing the press during a meeting which brought together national and county government leaders from central, Waiguru said that delayed funds disbursement has adversely affected operations at the counties.

“Delayed disbursement of funds has been a major threat to the functionality of the devolved units since 2013 and continues to put a strain on their operations” she said, noting that the national treasury has perennially delayed in disbursing monies to County Governments and is three months behind on average going against the spirit of the constitution and the Public Finance Management Act,”  COG Chair said

She noted that all the 47 counties are owed KES 31.45 billion for January, KES 31.45 billion for February, KES 29.6 billion for March and KES 33.3 billion for April allocation.

The COG chair said that as a result of delayed funding counties continue facing many challenges which include non-compliance with regards to timely payment of employees’ salaries and remittance of statutory deductions, issuance of Agency Notices by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and or attaching County Governments Bank Accounts without consideration of the status of disbursement. KRA also imposes penalties due to late payment of taxes occasioned by the delays further constraining County resources.

The counties, she noted, also incur huge interests due to bank overdrafts from commercial banks used to fill the fiscal gaps because of the delays while delayed settlement of suppliers and contractors leading to further accumulation of pending bills and exposing counties to litigation.

She added that lack of timely funding negatively affects service delivery to Kenyans due to demoralized County employees and in some instances lead to industrial action.

“It also derails implementation of development projects, leads to under absorption of budgets thus affecting Counties’ plans for the ensuing financial year and hampers counties’ response measures towards emergencies such as floods, drought as well.” Said the COG Chair.

She warned that further delay in disbursement of the funds may bring operations in the counties to a grinding halt.

At the same time Waiguru called for change of legislation in order to curb drug abuse menace in the country. She said that there are cartels that have made the fight against counterfeit liquor difficult and every time they are arrested they bail themselves out by paying the little fines imposed and continue with the trade.

She asked the parliament and the judiciary to assist in ensuring that strict regulations are enacted and implemented.

She proposed for a law that will define the distance between one bar and the next while bars close to schools and churches should be closed without negotiating. She also proposed for a national join licencing body to ensure that liquor business across the country is standardized.

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