2 September 2014

Kenya: Counties to Get Cash As Senate Passes Crucial Bill

Nairobi — Counties will soon have much awaited funding after the Senate passed the County Allocation of Revenue Bill.

Initially, counties would have to wait 14 days before monies can be disbursed but, an amendment by the National Assembly reduced the time by seven days, which means following assenting of the Bill by the President, counties will only wait for seven days before they can get the money allocated to them.

The County Allocation of Revenue Bill which has withheld funds meant for counties is now pending assent by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Already, the Treasury has been forced to loan counties Sh29 billion to offset salaries owing to a delay by the National Assembly in passing the Bill.

During Tuesday's special sitting which saw the Senate recalled from recess, debate ensued over a proposal to create ceilings for counties detailing the limit they can spend money.

While some of the Senators lauded the proposal, some rejected it saying counties should be left to control money since every county knows its budget needs.

"We need to empower our county assemblies so that they can also do the oversight like we do on the Governors they can do on the CECs (County Executive Committees)," said Kericho County Senator Charles Keter.

He was seconded by Mandera County Senator Billow Kerrow. "We want to put a limit on the executive Mr Speaker regarding the recurrent expenditure they can use on salaries, for allowances and for other operational work, we want to do the same on the county assembly".

While defending the County Assembly, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said: "Facilitating the county assemblies to do their job is our responsibility as a house to defend them and protect them."

His statement however elicited mixed reactions with members of the opposition led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula who accused Murkomen and his allies of playing politics by trying to entice the Members of County Assemblies.

Lately, MCAs have been sought after since they are being sought by those pro and against the referendum calls so as to vote in favour of either side.

The responsibility now lies with President Kenyatta to quickly assent to the bill which will authorise the release of cash for county operations.

This will also ensure counties pay back the Sh29bn advanced by the Treasury.


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