Counties set to get funds as Senate passes allocation Bill

Thursday November 9 2017

By DAVID MWERE

The Senate has passed an amendment to the County Allocation of Revenue Act that will see county governments start receiving their allocation once the Bill is signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The National Assembly is expected to be recalled next week to consider the County Allocation of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2017 as required by the Constitution before it is given to the president for assent.

The National Assembly is on a 21-day recess and is expected back on November 29.

SH77 BILLION

The National Treasury will now release Sh77.4 billion to the 47 counties which is part of the money that was scheduled to be disbursed in the first quarter.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, Sh345 billion was approved for disbursement to the counties by members of the National Assembly.

The delay by the National Treasury to release the cash to counties, five months into the current financial year, has resulted in a blame game, with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich on the firing line from senators.

Mr Rotich defended himself against accusations by Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok of Turkana, insisting that variances between the disbursement schedule and the County Allocation of Revenue Act passed hurriedly before the August 8 election is to blame for the delay.

LEGAL ACTION

Hours before the Senate passed the amendment Bill, Mr Nanok had vowed to take legal action against the Mr Rotich.

Mr Nanok said that Treasury’s continued delay to release the funds was not only affecting development projects but is in itself a violation the law.

“It is of grave concern to county governments that their operations and service delivery are being held at ransom because two national institutions have failed to find concurrence,” Mr Nanok said.

He had said that the delay should be addressed urgently as services in the counties were almost grounding to a halt.

“The council regrets that the delay has not only led to interrupted services but also stalled development projects hence defeating the spirit of devolution as contemplated in the Constitution," he said.

AG'S ADVISE

The delays between the Senate and Treasury occurred when Attorney-General Githu Muigai advised that the Senate’s approved schedule be amended to conform to the law.

“The Senate sent to the National Treasury a different schedule from the one contained in the Third Schedule of CARA and subsequently the National Treasury has indicated that they will not release any funds unless that anomaly is rectified,” said Mr Nanok.

“Following the advice from the AG, the council wrote to the Senate and requested that the matter be treated with urgency and also emphasised on the need to immediately amend the law.”

Treasury last week said only a fraction of the amount had been disbursed to select counties owing to a technical hitch in the legislative process.

The County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) 2017 was approved by Parliament and assented to by the President.

However, the schedule of disbursement approved by the Senate after the August election is at variance with the Act.

“The National Treasury is awaiting clarification from the Senate on the same. In the meantime, Treasury has released Sh20 billion to some county governments for the payment of staff salaries and key services.”