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Let counties shed burden

Tuesday February 18 2020

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Counties are grappling with numerous challenges requiring prudent management of the resources at their disposal.

Many of them almost grind to a halt whenever their financial allocations from the National Treasury are delayed.

One of the reasons for the sorry state of affairs in all the 47 counties is the inability to generate own funds.

Where efforts are being made to boost revenue collection, they are often undermined by rampant corruption, which has, sadly, been devolved from the centre, where officials engage in suspect operations.

However, county leaders also inherited huge burdens from the defunct county councils.

One of the most bothersome is the bloated wage bill, with numerous workers being employed to carry out tasks that do not add value to the operations.



There are also ghost workers, whose presence is only felt at the pay office. Another carry-over from the old days is nepotism in employment, which only swells the workforce, but with little coming through.

Laikipia County has decided to take the bull by the horns and after a thorough evaluation, laid off 176 workers in an effort to trim its ballooning wage bill that stands at 58 per cent.

This was starkly in violation of the Public Finance Management Act 2012, which set the ceiling at 35 per cent.

The bold move following an audit that showed employees were paid salaries that they could not justify, should save the county Sh190.8 million every month.

This is, certainly, not a popular decision, considering the acute unemployment, especially among the youth.

However, prudent management of resources should enable a review within, say, a year to see if any reasonable jobs can be created.

This is the way to go for the other counties as well.