NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Public servants in the 47 counties are unlikely to receive their August salaries on time owing to lack of funds in the devolved units, the Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto cautioned on Tuesday.
Ruto indicated that county governments were having challenges in accessing the county revenue funds and attributed this to the delay by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts to submit their financial reports of the two previous years to the National Assembly.
This led to delays in approval of laws that would set the stage for release of funds to counties.
“National revenue can only be shared between the National Government and the County Governments after the conclusion of the government budgetary process which includes allocation of revenue. The sharing of this revenue has not yet taken effect. The funds for this financial year 2014/2015 have not been released to the counties two months into the new financial year. The counties are now hard pressed for funds until the budgetary process is satisfactorily concluded,” he explained.
Last month, there was a delay in the payment of July salaries to public servants in 22 counties around the country.
“For two months now, the counties have been challenged to mobilise funds for recurrent expenditure and especially for paying salaries.
Salaries in the counties are paid from the County Revenue Funds which come from the shared Audited National Revenue according to Article 203 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,” he said.
While sounding the alert for delayed salaries, the Council of Governors urged all public servants to be patient as the County Governments try to find a way of addressing the issue.
“I want to tell you that to date, no money for this financial year has reached any county. It has not reached our revenue accounts. Probably in future what we will do is to amend the Public Finance Management Act so that counties can access 50 percent of their funds upon probably the passage of the Division of Revenue Act,” he stated.
Some of the counties had also then failed to adhere to the budget ceilings created by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) after their respective County Assemblies allocated more money than permitted to fund the assemblies.
The ceilings were meant to prevent channelling of devolved resources into unnecessary projects and recurrent expenditures noted in the last financial year.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has in the meantime suspended debate on a Bill which seeks to amend Section 204 of the Constitution to remove the management of the Equalization Fund from the County Governments to constituencies.
Muturi says there has not been enough public participation on the Bill as required by the Constitution and ordered for Kenyans to be involved.
The Bill was expected to go into the Committee of the Whole House where legislators were to approve the amendment proposed by Samburu West MP Lati Lelelit.
The Bill has received opposition from various bodies including the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution which said it was unconstitutional for the Members of the National Assembly to manage the Equalization Fund.