County services to stall as cash crisis bites: Governors

Most counties have not received their money from the Treasury since July 2015.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma. He has blamed the National Government for the cash problems that counties are currently facing. FILE PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • Governors Ranguma, Ruto, and Ongwae separately complained that they were failing to provide services on time due to the cash constraints.
  • Mr Ranguma blamed the National Government for the problems counties are having.
  • Mr Ongwae told the Nation that Kisii County had not received money from the Treasury since June.
  • Mr Ruto said to ensure smooth running of counties, money should be sent to them quarterly. He said such an arrangement would allow planning.

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Governors have warned of possible disruption of services in counties following delays by the National Treasury to send cash to their accounts.

Most counties have not received their money from the Treasury since July 2015.

Governors Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), Isaac Ruto (Bomet), and James Ongwae (Kisii) separately complained that they were failing to provide services on time due to the cash constraints.

They said the problem explains the slow progress that has been seen in some of the devolved functions, adding that this had led to mistrust by residents.

“The residents want to see development but they do not understand that it can be achieved through money, which the Treasury is taking long to disburse,” said Mr Ranguma.

“How can I run the county when there is no money?” Mr Ranguma said in Kisumu Tuesday.

“If the cash was sent on time, we would not be having the rampant strikes by health workers.”

He blamed the National Government for the problems counties are having.

He said Kenyans voted overwhelmingly for devolution, hoping that it would ensure equitable development.

“We do not have the money to fund projects and we are worried that services will soon stop,” he said.

Mr Ongwae told Nation.co.ke that Kisii County had not received money from the Treasury since June.

“The recurrent strikes have nothing to do with devolution.

“The Treasury has not released funds since June. How do you expect counties to pay salaries and offer services without resources?” he asked.

SEND MONEY QUARTERLY

Mr Ruto said to ensure smooth running of counties, money should be sent to them quarterly. He said such an arrangement would allow planning.

“We are now in September but some of the counties have not received funds for July and August from the Treasury.

“If we fail to pay health workers, for instance, they will take to the streets,” he said.

The Bomet governor said county bosses will join the Okoa Kenya team to push for devolution of more resources to counties.

“We will use both Pesa Mashinani and Okoa Kenya initiatives to ensure that 45 per cent of the government’s revenue is released to counties on time,” he said.

At the same time, county assemblies will now control their own budgets, independent from those of the executive.

This follows a push by assemblies, through the Senate, for the Treasury to direct the Central Bank to separate the accounts.

Last week, the Central Bank sent a circular to county executives, asking them to allow assemblies to control their own finances.

Kisumu and Vihiga counties have begun separating the budgets of the two arms of government.

“From now on, the assembly will be receiving its money separately,” Kisumu Finance minister George Ongaya said Tuesday.

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