, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – Governors have a reason to smile after striking a deal with the national government for a Sh32 billion increase in revenue allocation for the next financial year. This means counties will get an extra Sh32 billion from 226 billion in the previous 2014/15 financial year.
Counties will now receive Sh258 billion up from the Sh226 billion that was allocated this year. This follows a meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto and attended by Governors, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA).
“Following today’s discussion, we have agreed to raise the equitable share to Sh258 billion, now this clears the way for us to finalise documents that we are going to submit to Parliament before the deadline which is February 15th,”said Rotich.
Due to the escalating wage bill, an issue heightened by the presence of ghost workers, the meeting resolved to set the total wage bill for county governments at not more than 35 percent of the county’s total allocation.
“The Ministry of Devolution will convene a meeting within the next five (5) days to discuss the progress of the ongoing Capacity Assessment and Rationalization of Public Service (CARPS) at the National and County levels,” said Micah Cheserem, the CRA chairman.
The Deputy President on his part called on Parliament to consider the proposals by the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) which were meant to grow the economy of counties saying the push and pull between the National and County governments should stop as they were curtailing growth and development.
“We are going to work on a formula that brings in the growth of the economy, growth of revenue and be able to scientifically determine how we are going to grow the shareable revenue going forward; this is vital in eliminating pull and push by the various stakeholders,” said Ruto.
“We are also going to reduce acrimony between County and National governments by avoiding statements that demean either level of government as both are validly elected to serve the people. You will see more of greater working together and greater harmony in the future,” he added.
On the matter of County borrowing, a sealing setting the debt limit for counties at 20 percent of the audited total annual revenue was proposed, however counties will have to put in place debt management strategies before they are allowed to borrow.
“Funds borrowed by counties will be applied towards capital projects only and not to pay wages or recurrent expenditure,” said Cheserem.
Governors present including Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto welcomed the move while at the same time stating their position on the governments’ initiative to equip county hospitals with state- of-the-art medical equipment.
“We want to confirm that we as Council of Governors have not been against the medical equipment scheme; indeed we approved and agreed at a meeting in Naivasha on the soundness of the idea, what we were only requiring were the details, and we have agreed that we will organise a meeting with the Ministry of Health and we believe those issues that are pending will be sorted out,” said Ruto.