THIKA, August 11 – Local authorities are set to receive Sh9.3 billion through this year’s Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF) allocations.
Deputy Prime Minister and Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi announced on Monday that he would publish the exact amount allocated to each council to encourage public participation in the management of the funds.
Speaking in Thika, Mudavadi said that the 175 councils countrywide had received close to Sh37.8 billion through the LATF funds since it was established eight years ago.
Already, a new financial reporting system has been gazetted.
“I have already signed the gazette notice for the new financial template so that Local Authorities can present their accounts in accordance with international accounting standards and we break away from the old municipal accounting system, which has been very complicated and at times can be used to hide things,” said the Minister.
He added that Kenyans should debate the efficiency of their home councils, and particularly whether they are delivering the services required of them.
Mudavadi stated that this was particularly important following the creation of 80 new districts last year.
He argued that it would be illogical to add more county councils, when most of the current 175 councils were not performing.
“Kenyans will have to make very difficult decisions,” he said.
The Minister said that only 40 local authorities in the country can collect enough revenue to cover their expenses, while the others are struggling.
“Perhaps 50 can raise their revenues to Sh10 million, while there are certain incidences where those councils are completely in the red, the name exists for its worth but in terms of what they do, there is nothing.”
Speaking in Thika Town where he launched a website for the town’s county council, the Deputy Prime Minister directed that all the 175 local authorities in the country should have internet connectivity and subsequently be networked by June next year.
While giving the directive, Mudavadi said this would help in demystifying the working of the local authorities.
He said:” We have created domain addresses for all the 175 local authorities so as to ease communication between the taxpayers and the local government officials; a number of the local authorities have already connected to the website.”
Mudavadi added that the government hopes to use the councils as digital villages due to their proximity to the grassroots, in order to bring government services closer to the people.
“We would like to see people use the website to access information about the use of LATF and other funds used to initiate development projects; we want wananchi to access council by-laws and Citizen Service Charters,” stated the DPM.