You cannot suckle on the Treasury’s teat forever, Uhuru tells Governors

May 12, 2016 9:42 am
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President Kenyatta said Governors needed to shift from the cultural mindset of asking for handouts from ‘serikali’ and instead focus on developing their own sources of revenue/FILE
President Kenyatta said Governors needed to shift from the cultural mindset of asking for handouts from ‘serikali’ and instead focus on developing their own sources of revenue/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta says county governments must work towards standing on their own two feet financially and not rely solely on disbursements from the National Treasury.

In an interview with the press on Monday, President Kenyatta said Governors needed to shift from the cultural mindset of asking for handouts from ‘serikali’ and instead focus on developing their own sources of revenue.

“When we were in Nyandarua for example, to have a governor come and say oh you know we need your help to get a pyrethrum plant up and running and then I asked the governor, my friend, that’s your responsibility. Agriculture is a devolved function. You should have used part of your trips out there to engage individuals who would come and build these plants. This is not for the government to come and do for you. Focus on that and focus less on these other trappings that you people have. We devolved so that counties could be able to focus on those areas that they felt previously were neglected by the national government,” he said by way of example.

In his State of the Nation Address, President Kenyatta called out the county governments – who have been vocal in their demands for more functions and the attendant financing – for their focus on said trappings.

“We see fleets of vehicles and palaces being acquired to benefit administrators and officials and we have not seen enough of these hard earned resources being utilised to provide concrete benefits to the people,” he said.

READ: Curb spending excesses, Uhuru tells counties

He has repeatedly denied the accusation, levelled by governors and main opposition that the National Government has undermined county governments through the withholding of funds and he did so again on Monday.

“When we say that we have been able to transfer one trillion shillings, that is a huge amount of money. That is equivalent, eight years ago, to two years of our national budget. It’s 95 percent (of county budgets) that is being transferred. Five percent only coming from the internal revenues is something that’s very small.”

His latest comments, that counties should aim for financial independence, are unlikely to go down well with the governors or main opposition (the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy) who have campaigned for a referendum to increase their mandatory share of the national cake; Article 203(2) of the Constitution stating that: For every financial year, the equitable share of the revenue raised nationally that is allocated to county governments shall be not less than fifteen per cent of all revenue collected by the national government.

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