Uhuru to pen release of Sh210bn county cash

August 7, 2013 2:38 pm
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The Bill which originated from the Senate now awaits the President's assent after it was passed without any amendments/FILE
The Bill which originated from the Senate now awaits the President’s assent after it was passed without any amendments/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 7 – Sh210 billion meant for county governments in the devolved system of administration will be disbursed to the 47 units next week after the National Assembly approved the County Allocation of Revenue Bill.

The Bill which originated from the Senate now awaits the President’s assent after it was passed without any amendments.

National Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said the disbursement of the funds will be done in accordance with a plan agreed with the county governments which are yet to submit their applications to the Transition Authority for transfer of devolved functions.

“Each county will do a cash plan for the whole financial year and then we prepare a disbursement schedule so that all the money can follow from the consolidated fund to county revenue funds and then they can now implement their budgets,” he said.

The Transition Authority has until Friday to gazette the functions devolved to all the 47 counties.

The allocations to counties comprise Sh190 billion being the total equitable share of revenue and Sh20 billion for conditional allocation making a total of Sh210 billion.

Under the Bill, Nairobi County will get the lion’s share of the resources – Sh9.9 billion, Turkana Sh7.9 billion, Kakamega Sh7.4 billion, Nakuru Sh6.9 billion, Mandera Sh6.8 billion, Kiambu Sh6.3 billion while Kitui and Kilifi will get Sh5.8 billion each.

Those that will get the least allocation for the 2013/14 financial year include Lamu Sh1.5 billion, Isiolo Sh2.4 billion, Laikipia Sh2.7 billion, Samburu Sh2.8 billion and Taita Sh2.6 billion.

The amounts devolved were based on the last audited accounts for the financial year 2010/11. The audited financial accounts for the year 2011/12 have not been approved by Parliament.

Rotich defended an amendment to the Public Finance Management Act which will now require the National Treasury to disburse monies to county governments at the beginning of every month as opposed to making quarterly disbursement for expenditure of the following month.

“There was a feeling when we were finalizing the PFM law particularly from Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) that we do (the disbursements) on quarterly basis,” the National Treasury Secretary explained. “In fact, I think the estimate would have been that we disburse something like Sh50 billion at the beginning of every quarter and that could really become very difficult to implement.”

He added; “but the Senators came up with this and we concurred with them generally.”

The Act states the National Treasury to disburse monies to county governments at the beginning of every month and in any event not later than 15 days from the commencement of the month for expenditure of the following month.

The amendment legalized a deal ironed out during a meeting between the Deputy President, Council of Governors and devolution implementation stakeholders.

Governors won the battle for devolution funds after the national government ceded ground and withdrew a gazette notice that had retained money meant for roads.

The equitable Sh190 billion meant for the 47 counties includes Sh27 billion allocated to Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Rural Electrification Authority (REA).

MPs wanted the Sh27 billion allocated to KERRA, KURA and REA retained by the national government.

Suba MP John Mbadi had queried why the National Treasury agreed to Senate making amendments to money Bills which are exclusively the preserve of the National Assembly.

“My concern is why would you accept, at this early stage to amend such an important Act of Parliament?” The Suba MP continued, “If you remember we did put as one of the opening chapters of the PFM Act that should it conflict with other Acts governing public finance then PFM Act would supersede.”

“Why did the amendment become so necessary, especially on an issue that could be handled with rules saying that you will be giving out cash on monthly basis to counties,” said Mbadi.

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