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It’s wake-up call to counties

Friday November 22 2019

EDITORIAL
By EDITORIAL
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Something is terribly wrong with the counties, but it is hardly surprising.

Though the 47 devolved units have been generally lauded for enabling the most visible development across the country in the six decades of independence, it is not that rosy. There are also some glaring shortcomings.

While some very good things have happened since the advent of the counties, with some areas getting their very first tarmac roads, and other projects, some of the bad old habits associated with government, have also taken root.

As has been aptly observed, corruption has also been devolved. Indeed, some of the people in charge in the counties are motivated by nothing but self-gain.

One of the biggest shortcomings is the glaring inability to manage finances.

PENDING BILLS

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Most of the counties have piled up huge pending bills, which, incidentally, provide an avenue for even more rent seeking as suppliers wait in the corridors for money from the National Treasury to arrive.

This is then quickly shared out between crooked officials and those favoured suppliers.

The problem of pending bills has reached monumental proportions. It is hampering business, as suppliers do not get a return on their investments soon enough.

Some have been driven into bankruptcy as banks and other lenders recall loans.

DISCIPLINE

It is, therefore, encouraging to note that the National Treasury is now cracking the whip to get the counties to pay their pending bills.

Those that will not pay up risk having their allocations withheld. This is a long overdue step to instil financial discipline in the counties.

It is a shame that the government has been forced to resort to this, but it must be done.

Even more importantly, the counties can only justify their very existence by developing their own sources of revenue instead of solely relying on the National Treasury.

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