30 August 2014

Kenya: State Withholding Over Sh100 Billion, Governors Say

Governors have accused the national government of withholding more than Sh100 billion meant for devolved functions.

The county heads say the Jubilee administration is holding onto and budgeting for functions the constitution says should be decentralised.

The governors have now demanded immediate reallocation and release of Sh102.57 billion belonging to various departments assigned to the county governments.

"This is the money we want the treasury to release," Council chairman Isaac Ruto told the Star on the phone yesterday.

According to a list released by the Council of Governors, the national government has budgeted for Sh 17.83 billion under the Health ministry, despite the function falling under the county governments.

Others allocations include Sh24 billion for Water, Sh8 billion for Housing, Sh19 billion for Lands, Sh19 billion for Transport and Infrastructure and Sh4 billion for Livestock.

The Bomet governor wondered why the national government was clinging to the funds when the constitution provides for separation of functions between the two levels of government.

"When we ask for the funds they tell us we are running away from accountability. Funding is the cardinal principle of devolution," he said.

He said the push for a referendum is alive to address the shortcomings.

The county chiefs are pushing for a referendum to increase financial allocation to counties to at least 45 per cent of the total revenue raised by exchequer.

They have already formed a technical committee of experts to spearhead the collection of one million signatures from registered voters.

The constitution requires that proponents of a referendum must collect at least one million signatures to trigger a constitutional amendment by way of a popular vote.

Governors and the national government have been battling over the control of billions meant to finance regional hospitals after parliament resolved that the money for level 5 hospitals should be managed by the national government.

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