Governors fault lawmakers and the Executive for reduction in funding

In April, county bosses demanded donor cash factored in a bill already passed by the National Assembly.

Council of Governors Chairman Josphat Nanok (left), flanked by his vice chairperson Anne Waiguru, addresses a media briefing at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on September 10, 2018. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • The National Assembly went ahead and passed the 2017 Roads Bill, disregarding the proposed amendments.
  • At the centre of the raging fights is the refusal by ministries to let go of donor funds meant for counties.
  • Another Sh1.8 billion from the Agricultural Sector Development Programme II was not provided for in the bill.

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Governors have faulted MPs and the Executive for reneging on agreements that have led to a significant reduction of money meant for devolved governments.

Council of Governors chairman Josphat Nanok criticised lawmakers for backing out of an deal to increase allocations for the maintenance of roads and accused the National Treasury of underfunding county governments.

He said the funds governors get, usually after long delays, do not match the many functions they are in charge of.

Mr Nanok in February said agreements after negotiations in the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, chaired by Deputy President William Ruto, would have made counties manage class D roads and up to 20 per cent of the fuel levy fund every year.

FUEL LEVY FUND

The agreement between county bosses and the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry would see the fuel levy fund increased from 15 to 20 percent.

The proposed addition was meant to take care of the rising costs of road maintenance in counties.

But the National Assembly went ahead and passed the 2017 Roads Bill, disregarding the proposed amendments.

It meant some county roads were reclassified, placing them under the national government.

According to a 2016 reclassification ratified by the National Assembly, devolved units would be in charge of 129,456 kilometres of roads in classes D, E and lower, while the national government would control classes A, B and C that make up only 39,995 kilometres.

RETAINED MORE MONEY

But the reclassification of some roads that should be in category D means the government has, in the end, retained more money while counties were left with more roads to maintain.

Governors want the Senate to reject the Roads Bill, which is awaiting their approval, and honour the agreement.

“It is worrying because the give-and-take spirit during negotiations for budgetary allocations has never been honoured,” the Turkana governor said after an extraordinary meeting in a city hotel.

“Despite the high level negotiations and the signing of the agreement, the government failed to honour its end of the bargain and counties have continued to grapple with the challenges they have been experiencing in the last five years.”

At the centre of the raging fights is the refusal by ministries to let go of donor funds meant for devolved functions.

DEMANDED GRANTS

In April, governors demanded conditional grants and donor cash for development projects factored in the 2018 Division of Revenue Bill passed by the National Assembly.

They made recommendations to the Senate to include Sh1.5 billion grants from the Global Fund.

The grants — which exclusively finance malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis programmes — pass through the national government.

The Ministry of Health then determines how the money is allocated to the devolved governments, the primary implementers of Global Fund projects.

Another Sh1.8 billion from the Agricultural Sector Development Programme II was not provided for in the bill.

“We call on the Treasury to base the division of revenue on functions performed by counties. County operations are in jeopardy," Mr Nanok said.

“There is an urgent need for extensive costing of functions performed by both levels of governments and allocations made based on a formula where resources follow functions.”

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