NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3- The government has announced plans to increase funds to counties from last year’s 32 percent to 43 percent which will bring it to Sh226 billion from Sh190 billion.
This will be a 19.3 percent increase of the funds.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru, while highlighting achievements in her ministry over the past year, said this was a clear indication that the National Government was committed to devolution.
“The government is committed to devolution; we have been able to transfer all functions that were expected to be transferred in three years in a record period of one year without any interruption to service delivery,” she pointed out.
“Where there have been challenges, we have provided technical support and financial support as well.”
Waiguru said the government perceives devolution as one of its major achievements for the one year it has been in office. She however said that no government official would attend the ongoing devolution meeting in Kwale as this was time for Governors’ self assessment.
“We are not going to go… not because of any particular reason that is related to any other, than the fact that this is a Council of Governors forum,” she said.
“We think that it is important that every institution involved in devolution takes time to do self reflection.”
During an address to Parliament last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta while expressing his support for devolution noted that, “In support of the county level of government, my administration arranged a massive transfer of skilled men and women to the counties. Across Kenya, public servants with the best training are building our country from its roots. The key inter-governmental structures they need to support their labours, and align their plans with those of national government, have almost all been established.”
“This new system of governance did not come cheaply, but my administration has more than met the need: while the Constitution allows the county-level governments a minimum of 15 percent of the total national tax revenue, we chose to allocate them more than double the requirement, at 32 percent. The framers of our new law expected the devolution of functions to proceed over three years.”
Waiguru also noted that the ministry had resettled 8,298 internally displaced families where each received a cash payment of Sh400,000 per household, totalling Sh3.3 billion.
On his part, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said the government was committed to fulfil its laptop project once the matter was settled by the courts. On March 11, the award of the Sh24.6 billion laptop tender to Olive Telecommunications was cancelled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.
The board chairperson Josephine Monga’re said Olive Telecommunications did not only lack the financial capability to implement the project, but also quoted Sh1.4 billion higher than the required threshold.
The board said the company should have quoted Sh23.2 billion instead of Sh24.6 billion adding that the excess amount included by the company was to be used for some services which were supposed to be offered for free.
Olive has since challenged the ruling in court and an order was issued blocking the project pending the outcome of the case.