Kenya: Revenue Impasse - County Staff Yet to Get June, July Salaries

10 August 2020

Thousands of county workers are yet to receive their July salaries even as the impasse over the revenue sharing formula persists at the Senate.

This comes as county governments still wait to access funds for the month of June, transferred to their accounts last Friday, due to a technicality.

Senators are currently locked in a standoff over Sh316 billion revenue share to the 47 county governments and have failed to agree on a suitable formula despite weeks of negotiations.

The stalemate has stalled the passage of County Allocation of Revenue Bill, which if not passed and signed into law by the president, means the devolved units cannot get money.

In the North Rift, several counties are yet to pay salaries due to a cash crunch.

Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago, who is also the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) chairperson, yesterday said county governments were finding it difficult to demand services from staff who have gone for two months without pay.

Down their tools

"As a county government, we have put in place measures to stem the spread of Covid-19. Our frontline health workers are working extremely hard, but in a difficult time because they have not received their June and July salaries," he told the Nation.

"What should governors tell their workers in case they down their tools yet their counterparts in the national government have received their salaries? Where do the monies paid to national government staff come from? And where is the county workers' share?"

In Nandi, more than 5,000 workers are eagerly waiting for their delayed pay cheques.

Governor Stephen Sang said all staff have not received salaries and the county is facing a financial crisis.

In Homa Bay, workers have threatened to paralyse operations starting Monday to demand two-month salary arrears.

"The effect of our go-slow is not being felt because most offices are still closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government should not take advantage of this to delay paying us," Homa Bay county civil servants' union chairman Tom Aketch said.

Commercial loans

In some counties, workers got paid after governors turned to commercial loans.

In Isiolo, some workers were paid their June and July salaries after the county government secured funds from local banks. Governor Mohamed Kuti said his administration had struck a deal with local banks to have workers receive advances to be repaid once money is released by the Treasury.

In Taita Taveta, thousands of workers have to wait longer to receive their July pay.

"We have been unable to fulfil our financial obligations, which include salaries to thousands of workers, statutory deductions and payment of pending bills worth Sh180 million to suppliers," Taita County executive for Finance, Andrew Kubo, said.

In Tana River, County Secretary Joshua Jarha said employees will not get their salaries on time.

Baringo County is yet to meet the new requirements issued by the controller of budget to access funds from the Treasury, according to Finance executive Richard Rotich.

In Siaya and Kisumu, thing are equally not looking good.

"The whole chain of county government operations will be affected, including especially the payment of salaries," Kisumu Director of Communication Aloice Ager said.

In Kisii, Kakamega and Migori, the county governments have promised to settle the staff salaries by Tuesday.

In Embu, Kirinyaga and Tharaka-Nithi, workers said while they had been paid their June salaries, they were yet to be paid for July.

By Eric Matara, Gitonga Marete, Stephen Oduor, Lucy Mkanyika, James Murimi, Regina Kinogu, Onyango K'Onyango, Dennis Lubanga, Tom Matoke, Oscar Kaikai, Florah Koech, Waweru Wairimu, George Odiwuor, Dickens Wasonga, Elizabeth Ojina, Derick Luvega, Ruth Mbula, Ian Byron and Benson Amadala.

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