15.4 C
New York
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Buy now

Counties To Receive Sh 31.4b February Allocation By Friday.

 

Counties To Receive Sh 31.4b February Allocation By Friday.

 

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u yesterday committed to disburse Sh31.45 billion to the counties for the month of February allocation by the end of this week.

His move came even as data from the National Treasury showed that county governments have only received Sh214.6 billion in equitable share since June last year with over Sh155 billion still outstanding two months to the end of the financial year.

National Treasury’s disbursement translates to 58 per cent of the Sh370 billion due to the 47 devolved units in the financial year ending June 30, 2023.

On Monday, the Council of Governors (CoG) issued a fourteen days’ notice to shut down counties if the allocations for February, March and April are not released within two weeks.

But while appearing before the Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds Committee on Monday evening, Prof Ndung’u promised to pay the March and April allocations next month, and clear the May and June allocations before the end of the current financial year.

With only two months remaining before the close of 2022/2023 budget, counties are yet to receive Sh31.45 billion for February, Sh29.6 billion and Sh33.3 billion for March and April respectively.

The CS was hard pressed to explain the staggering disparity between the allocations for the counties as opposed to those of the national government.

Senator Godfrey Osotsi who chairs the committee charged that the issue of delayed funds was adversely affecting development projects in the devolved units.

The issue of delayed funds is a serious one. We are now only two months to this year’s budget and devolved units are yet to receive more than half of what they are supposed to get. Apart from crippling development projects in the counties, late disbursement of funds is what mainly leads to corruption as it provides room for fishy dealings before close of the budget,” stated Osotsi.

Migori Senator Eddy Oketch questioned the government’s commitment to devolution, accusing the National Treasury of violating the law at will.

According to the Senators, constant delay by the Treasury to disburse funds to county governments is a blatant violation of Section 219 of the Constitution.  “The Constitution provides that the county share shall be transferred without undue delay and without deductions. Why is it that it is only County governments that their funds delay?” posed Oketch.

Public debt

Citing the harsh economic times facing the country, Prof Ndung’u stated that the funds will be released to the counties in phases starting with February arrears in a week’s time. “We are not deliberately violating the law. The delays are because of the severity of the problem. We are supposed to remit by 15th of every month but times are hard. The high public debt as well as shortfall in revenue collection has aggravated the situation. We have paid the arrears for last year,” he said.

At the same time, Ndung’u stated that the exchequer owes the national government Sh211.6 billion and counties Sh94.35 billion.

The minister is also advocating county governments to enhance their own-source revenue to ensure continuity of services in case of delays in disbursement of equitable share.

 

Related Articles

Recent Articles