NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – The Treasury has finally released Sh20 million for each of the 47 counties in a bid to end raging discontent from governors who have accused the government of frustrating devolution.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae says the Treasury intends to channel out up to Sh9.8 billion to the county governments by June this year.
Addressing a press conference at his office on Thursday, Githae denied reports that his office was part of government departments frustrating devolution.
“We were supposed to have waited for the Transitional Authority to tell us; ‘we have trained all the governors, trained the treasurers and they all know their duties, please now release the funding’; But even before that, we have sent Sh20million to each county already,” the Minister announced.
“We have absolutely no intention of micro managing the counties. In any case we are not even capable of doing so,” Githae clarified.
He noted that the money could not have been released until basic measures were put in place adding that the governors are impatient.
“Each county had to open two accounts at Central Bank; development account and the current account, open collection account at the counties and another account for petty cash with a bank that has a branch at the county. All this was important,” he insisted.
Apart from delay of funds, governors had also raised concerns that government still wanted to dictate how the monies were to be spent fearing that this would slow down operations.
Githae however maintained that the right procedure had to be followed in releasing the funds from all the accounts and signed by all required authorities including the Controller of Budget to avoid corruption and misuse of funds, something he said, did not please the governors.
The minister urged the governors to focus more on preparing their financial budget and not complain on the funds which are already there.
“The development of the county budgets was done in good faith to help governors access funds as soon as possible and for the governors to concentrate on the priorities for the financial year 2013/14,”he said.
He revealed that the Ministry is also involved in high-level talks with the incoming government on ways of implementing the Jubilee Manifesto.
Githae told journalists that he has also discussed with president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta on plans to acquire solar-powered laptops to be distributed to all public primary schools among other pledges.
“We want to soon present a supplementary budget just to realign ourselves with the priorities. As a matter of fact both the President elect and his deputy have told me that they would like to see free maternal health care implemented immediately, free services at dispensaries and implementing the laptop project,” the minister revealed.