alexa Ranking of counties should spur debate and not condemnation - Daily Nation

Ranking of counties should spur debate and not condemnation

Monday September 23 2019

The recent ranking of counties by All Africa Advisors (AAA) has been met with quick rubbishing by the Council of Governors (CoG).

According to a statement by the CoG chairman, Kakamega Governor Wycliff Oparanya, the findings by the company did not meet the threshold of the survey and was, therefore, not reflective of the reality on the ground.

A quick take on this statement will be if the letter by the CoG also represents a majority view on the part of the governors.

By quickly pouring cold water on the ranking, the CoG has only sought to stifle national debate on this vital survey.

The CoG has also chosen not to broaden the discussion canvass by the governors and the people who are the key clients of county administration.

The best way forward for this survey is to ride on the rankings and take stock of the fortunes of devolution.

REVENUE

The AAA survey comes just a few days after a near-shutdown in the devolved units following a stand-off over funds.

With limited financial options, counties had proposed closing down, thus shutting the critical obligation of providing services to the public.

This only drove home the point that the devolved units have not stretched their abilities to raise extra revenues to meet their primary needs.

This is a trend that the counties have perfected over the years with the units only finding it easy to condemn the national government for its perennial delay in remitting the funds from the Exchequer in good time.

As this goes on, the truth is that the devolved units are not a good story reading about if they only pass the begging bowl to the national government.

This in itself defeats the aspirations, spirit and letter of the law that founded devolution.

Most of these counties survive by meeting only recurrent costs while suffocating development overheads.

DEBATE

In his last verdict on county governments, the immediate former auditor-general, Edward Ouko, said county governments were not meeting their obligations due to constant dependence on national government for bailouts.

The counties were not being creative on meeting their revenue targets while several of them lacked policies that encourage homegrown business and investment incentives, he added.

In turn, these investments could be important in filling the revenue deficits in the counties.

Therefore, it is only important that we seize the recent rankings to instigate and invigorate a national debate on the devolved units.