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Counties raise Sh6.1bn to fight coronavirus

KISUMU, Kenya, May 28 – All the 47 county governments have raised Sh6.1 billion through the supplementary budget to support their response towards the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya made the announcement on Wednesday in Kisumu where he said counties are now prepared to deal with the pandemic.

Oparanya said many counties have passed their supplementary budget while others are in the process.

“You know when you have supplementary, it takes time because of the procedures required in law,” he said.

Oparanya says counties were looking up to the national government to come to their aid as an emergency by bailing them out, adding that merger funds the counties were not enough to mount serious combat on the virus.

“Because the national government has access to funds more quickly than the county government, we were thinking that in the interim period, the national government would come in to fill that gap,” he said.

He decried the slow disbursement of Sh5 billion to the counties as promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Oparanya who is the Kakamega Governor said the amount was meant to support all counties towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He further announced that the National Treasury is yet to disburse Sh333 million donated by the Danish Embassy towards the fight against the virus in the levels 2 and 3 health facilities.

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“As the pandemic spreads rapidly to the counties, Kenyans should be made aware that there is adequate funding and we should not be held accountable for failure to act because resources are being withheld by the national treasury,” he said.

Oparanya also pointed at the low pace of testing noting that the number of positive cases in the counties could be higher.

“On testing, this has been our undoing, there are likelihood to be many cases but because of our limitation on testing,” he said.  

He says there is only one centre in Kisumu serving Western Kenya and the exercise takes too long time.

The Governor noted that the ministry of health had promised to provide mobile testing in the counties but that has not been realized.

“Am hopeful that if we have this facility especially in Kakamega and we are able to test some people, may be the number can go up,” he said.

The CoG chairman further took offense with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) whom he accused of working in isolation thus duplicating efforts being put by the county governments.

He says there are in excess of 11,262 NGOs in the country who have received huge support by their donors towards fighting this pandemic but nothing on the ground to be felt.

“This support has not been seen or felt by county governments. We encourage these organizations to partner with the counties so that the support they area offering can reah the most deserving,” he said.

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