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Governors want Sh76bn owed to counties urgently released

Friday June 05 2020
oparanya

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the press on Wednesday. The council has asked the government to urgently release the balance of Sh76 billion meant for counties before the financial year ends. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SHABAN MAKOKHA

The Council of Governors has asked the National Treasury to release the balance of Sh76 billion to devolved units before the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.

The CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya said county governments were allocated Sh316 billion in FY 2019/2020 f but only Sh240 billion has so far been disbursed.

“The financial year is coming to an end in the next 25 days yet the gatekeepers of Kenyans’ money have continued to create bottlenecks for this disbursement,” said Mr Oparanya. “Lack of funds in the counties has caused the delay of staff salaries and low morale, especially among health workers who are engaged in the fight against Covid-19.”

The Kakamega governor said  development projects in the devolved units have also stalled. In addition, he said, the delays have  contributed to the issue of pending bills.

“We appeal to the National Treasury and the Controller of Budget to disburse the funds to county governments before the end of the financial year so that they can handle essential services and fight the spread of Covid-19. Unless this is done, then we are heading toward a crisis,” Mr Oparanya added.

Speaking at the Kakamega County headquarters, Mr Oparanya said that whereas counties were making major strides toward combating the pandemic, the delay in funding was a major challenge to the campaign.

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He revealed that governors had approached the Ministry of Health to strategise on how to combat the disease at the county level.

“We welcome the move by the ministry (of Health) to visit various hospitals in the counties because we need to continue being our brother’s keeper,” he said.

Mr Oparanya also raised concern over the reduced number of patients visiting health facilities for treatment in the wake of the pandemic.

The governor said: “The number of children over one year who are fully immunised has reduced by 40 per cent in the month of April compared to March 2020.This means that in the coming days there could be an increase in the number of children who acquire vaccine-preventable diseases, leading to deaths.”

He said the prevention of mother to child transmission had also reduced by 31 per cent, while the proportion of pregnant women provided with treated mosquito nets had dropped by 10 per cent, exposing mothers to malaria.

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