NAIROBI, Kenya, July 25 – County governments will now receive fifty percent of their respective budget estimates following a consent between, county speakers, the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the Controller of Budget.
The agreement was reached before High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola pending the determination of a petition where the County Assemblies Forum is seeking an advisory on the mandate of the Controller of Budget and the CRA to set budget ceilings for County Governments.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the Forum’s chairman Nur Nassir Abdi welcomed the agreement, stating that it will enable county governments conduct their daily business up to December this year.
“That is enough because even if budgets are not passed by the county assemblies, it is always agreed that half of that amount will be agreed upon so that operations can continue. Counties are expected to run on this amount till about December,” he stated.
“In this case, I hope that the court will have determined whether the intervention by the Controller of Budget and the Commission of Revenue Allocation in setting the budget ceiling was constitutional.”
He further clarified that county governments are not against the setting of budget ceilings but that more light should be shed as to who should be involved in setting them.
“We are not challenging that county governments should not have ceilings on their budget. We acknowledge that all counties just like National Governments are subject to budget ceilings,” he said.
“The setting of budget ceilings however has a process and no one body has the mandate to monopolise it. That is what we are challenging since the COB and the CRA only has advisory roles.”
Operations in counties risked grinding to a halt after MCAs moved to court over their stalemate with the Controller of Budget over their budgets for the current fiscal year.
In Kiambu County for example the provision of health services had been compromised with Gatundu South hospital administrators complaining of drugs shortage.
A situation corroborated by Kiambu Deputy Speaker and Bibirioni MCA Anthony Kimani who stated that hospitals are not only facing a medical supply shortage but that of fuel as well.
Governors had also warned of a looming crisis in counties over failure by the central government to release funding amounting to Sh226 billion.
The delay was also blamed on failure by the counties to pass their budgets due to confusion over how much they should set aside for recurrent expenditure after the ceiling capped by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.
Speakers of the 47 County Assemblies have already filed a suit on behalf of their residents seeking to compel the Controller of Budget to oversee the implementation of the 2014/15 County Governments budgets.
And even as the MCAs moved to court, the National Assembly approved the Division of Revenue Bill, which was one of the bottle-necks delaying the disbursement of the funds to the counties.