Yatani blames counties for not utilising Sh9.2bn fund - Beaking Kenya News

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Yatani blames counties for not utilising Sh9.2bn fund

 Yatani blames counties for not utilising Sh9.2bn fund

The National Treasury says county governments are largely to blame for the unused Sh9.2 billion state and donor cash lying at the Central Bank of Kenya.

The cash meant for water, health, and road projects at various devolved units cannot be disbursed following inaction by county officials.

Out of the amount, Sh6.2 billion is in respect of projects which only require accounting officers of ministries handling conditional grants to write to Treasury to release the monies.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the affected counties have failed to adhere to requirements for the specific conditional allocations.

Owing to this, Treasury  can not disburse Sh617 million for water and sanitation projects; Sh338 million for universal healthcare; and Sh337 million for agriculture projects under NARIGP.

The same is the case of some Sh80 million for the Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP); Sh385 million for construction of county headquarters; and Sh1.3 billion from the road maintenance levy fund.

Yatani said accounting officers of ministries responsible for conditional grants are yet to give his ministry the required written instructions.

In this regard, the Treasury cannot disburse Sh4.9 billion for Level II grant of the Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP);Sh880 million for the water tower protection and, Sh350 million for drought mitigation in Northern Kenya.

The requirement for written instructions is stipulated in the guidelines for the Management of Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers (2017).

Yatani said that the delays, which stretched into the last quarter of the financial year, significantly undermined overall resource absorption of county cash.

Treasury withdrew from the budget, Sh14.7 billion of unspent donor cash last financial year, highlighting the extent of the problem.

“The ‘cuts’ were intended to create room in the 2019-20 fiscal framework so as to enable mobilisation and reallocation of resources towards the Covid-19 pandemic,” the CS said.

County governments have been complaining of liquidity challenges, forcing them to negotiate a Sh26 billion disbursement from the Treasury.

Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya  however said the shortcomings are county specific.

He said Treasury should give more details of which county has not done what to help follow up.

Oparanya conceded that the conditional grants are easier to access than equitable share.

“Most of them have special purpose accounts that receive the cash. Once one meets the conditions, the money is at their disposal and they can use it any time,” the Kakamega governor said.

He asked governors who may be tipped for receiving the grants to take a personal interest to ensure the donor terms are met.

“This will improve the flow of the funds which we desperately need to spur development in the counties,” Oparanya said.

The remarks came in the wake of Treasury revealing that counties have received Sh2.03 trillion since devolution kicked off seven years ago.

Nairobi has received the largest at Sh94 billion followed by Turkana (Sh72 billion); Kakamega (Sh69 billion); Nakuru (Sh66 billion); Mandera (Sh65 billion); Kiambu (Sh65 billion); and Kilifi (Sh62 billion).

Counties which have received over Sh50 billion are Bungoma (Sh59 billion); Kitui (Sh56 billion); Kisii (Sh54.7 billion); Machakos (Sh54 billion); Meru (Sh54 billion); and Wajir (Sh53.9 billion).

Mombasa county has so far received Sh48 billion; Kisumu (Sh47 billion); Makueni (Sh46.4 billion); Garissa (Sh46.2 billion); Migori (Sh44.7 billion); Kwale (Sh44.02 billion); Homa Bay (Sh42.9 billion); Marsabit (Sh41.3 billion); Busia (Sh40.2 billion); Uasin Gishu (Sh40.2 billion).

Trans Nzoia county has for the last seven years received Sh38.4 billion; Siaya (Sh37.9 billion); Bomet (Sh36.1 billion); Kajiado (Sh36.9 billion); Nyeri (Sh36.7 billion); Nandi (Sh35.6 billion); Kericho (Sh35.3 billion); Baringo (Sh33 billion); Tana River (Sh32.9 billion); Nyandarua (Sh32.8 billion); West Pokot (Sh32.4 billion); Embu (Sh30.9 billion); and Vihiga (Sh30 billion).

Counties whose cumulative disbursement are below Sh30 billion are Kirinyaga (Sh27.8 billion); Laikipia (Sh27.5 billion); Samburu (Sh27.6 billion); Taita Taveta (Sh26.1 billion); Elgeyo Marakwet (Sh25.2 billion); Isiolo (Sh24.7 billion); and Tharaka Nithi (Sh24.4 billion).

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