Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha has asked counties to set aside enough funds for dealing with emergencies to avoid over-reliance on the national government.
The legislator said counties have developed a culture of seeking help from the national government when hit by calamities, even when they can comfortably deal with the emergencies on their own.
“Though it may be difficult for counties to handle some disasters on their own, they should first exhaust their emergency funds before rushing to seek help from the national government,” said Mr Odha.
The lawmaker said county assemblies must come up with strict regulations to manage the kitty and ensure that the standby funds are not diverted to other uses.
The MP said that in the absence of a plan to guide response to emergencies, millions of money may end up in individual pockets, exposing Kenyans to a lot of suffering.
He said MCAs should, instead of allocating disaster funds in supplementary budgets, come up with an emergency Bill that will ensure funds are set aside in every budget as provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.
He blamed lack of a national disaster risk management plan for the desert locusts’ invasion that has so far spread to 11 counties.
Mr Odha said that once passed by the National Assembly, the plan should be adopted by the counties to help improve their disaster preparedness.
“With a disaster risk management plan in place, the government would have been well prepared to deal with the invasion, recent floods and drought,” he said.
Mr Odha said counties should, instead of distributing food supplies when hunger strikes, initiate empowerment programmes that enable farmers and herders to improve their production.
“Relief food should be minimised and counties should focus on empowering people. It has also become difficult to ascertain pending bills for food supplies,” the legislator said.