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Governors oppose Cabinet’s move to slash county funds

Council of Governors chair Isaac Ruto has term the move by National Treasury to reduce allocation to Counties by a whooping Sh9 billion as unrealistic.

Last week, Cabinet approved Sh248 billion to be shared equitably by the devolved units. The counties will also get separate funds known as conditional grants for specific projects: Sh4.6 billion for the provision of maternal health care, Sh. 4.5 billion for leasing of medical equipment Sh. 4.5 billion for the 11 level five hospitals and 3.3 billion for maintenance of roads.

This took the total allocation to Sh264.9 billion which is however less than Sh274 billion the treasury had proposed in its draft budget policy statement posted on its website.

Cabinet did not however disclose if Treasury would use as the last audited revenue which forms the basis of the division of revenue. On Sunday Mr Ruto accused the government of ‘double speak’.

“Even though we had not agreed with what Treasury had proposed in its draft budget policy statement, even before the dust has settled, the government has slashed Sh 9 billion from its proposals. This move is unrealistic,” Ruto said in an interview.

He said it was unfortunate that the national government had decided to ‘cling’ on huge amounts of money whereas 70 percent of its functions had been devolved to counties.

IMPROVE ECONOMY

“What is this business of cooking figures and misleading the public that the national government had good intentions for devolution whereas the opposite was true”, he noted.

“The government should know that Governors in the country are not happy about this hide and seek game and it is time the Jubilee government became serious in what it promises its citizenry.”

The chair said unless the Jubilee Administration saw the sense of devolving more funds to the counties, then its quest to improve the economy by double digits would still remain a pipe dream.

“We as governors representing our respective units, we want to state it clear that we are angered by the manner in which the government is trying to arm twist us in our demands for increased budgetary allocations to the counties” he said.

The Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA), he said, had proposed that shareable revenue to the counties should be at Sh282 billion and additional Sh67 billion as grants bringing the sum total allocation to the units to Sh 347 billion.

President Kenyatta had in his speech to mark last year’s Jamhuri day celebrations promised to allocate the counties 45 percent of the country’s entire budget.