Kenya: Treasury to Release Sh39 Billion to Counties to Avert a Shutdown

Vnairobi — National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani on Tuesday said the ministry will disburse Sh39 billion to counties by the end of the week a day after governors warned of a looming shutdown in counties.

Yatani's assurance followed a protest by the Council of Governors, the consultative organ bringing together county chiefs, which said operations and delivery of critical services to the residents in 47 devolved units would be halted if the National Treasury did not disburse close to Sh107 billion by Friday.

The CS told the Senate Committee on Budget and Finance that some county governments are largely to blame for the unused billions in state and donor cash lying at the Central Bank of Kenya.

"We will be making substantial disbursements on Friday or Monday of about Sh40billion, this is for the balances of March and the full amount of April. At the same-time I want to appeal to you to help us because we have a situation where the counties have money in their Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) Accounts but they are not spending," he told the Committee.

Governor Martin Wambora, the CoG Chairperson said the Treasury had not released the cash for some counties like Nairobi, for up to six months.

He dismissed claims that county governments had revenue reserves saying that balances that the CS referred to in his statement are monies already committed for ongoing/ unfinished projects within the counties at different stages of completion.

County governments through the CoG had decried delayed disbursements saying devolved units were experiencing difficulties funding critical expenses including payrolls for healthcare workers, some of whom were on strike.

"Unfortunately, if the National Treasury fails to release the funds, counties will not be able to offer basic services thereby forcing suspension of services or total shutdown by June 24," Wambora said.

Usually, devolved governments receive their equitable share on the 15th day of the month, with Sh25 billion to Sh26 billion credited to the collective County Revenue Fund account at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

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