NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – The National Government on Wednesday came to the rescue of counties and agreed to release Sh29 billion by the end of this week to pay salaries.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told a news conference that the National Government would advance the cash following a resolution of the Inter-Governmental Budget and Economic Council.
“Looking at the disbursement profile that we had already prepared waiting for approval by Parliament, we were supposed to have disbursed about Sh29 billion by now beginning July 1st. We are going to look at possibility of disbursing up to that level so that county government can continue with their services,” he said.
Once the Senate passes the necessary law – the County Allocation Revenue Bill – the counties will be required to refund the monies.
Rotich explained that whereas the Division of Revenue Bill was assented to, the County Allocation Revenue Bill which is also crucial for funds to be released from the Consolidated Fund to the counties, has not yet been passed.
He said Parliament had made minor amendments and returned it to the Senate for approval before assent by the President, but Senators went on recess before adopting the bill.
Rotich hoped that the law will be passed on Tuesday when Senators are expected to reconvene for that business following a gazette notice issued on Wednesday.
Once assented to, Sh228 billion will be released from the Consolidated Fund to the counties.
Ruto who was present during the press conference confirmed that county staff would receive their pay by early next week.
“We are convinced this is doable and that it can be done between now and Friday. So we can assure our staff in the counties that salaries will be definitely available early next week,” he said.
He further explained that all medical staff across all counties had received their salaries and that the tension was not about immediate payments but other agreements between the union and the government.
“I want to confirm to you that salaries have paid to all the medical staff including in Coast, Homabay, I have confirmed with their Governors. And there is agitation by unions on issues other than immediate payment of salaries,” he explained.
While he expressed displeasure that medical staff had downed their tools frustrating operations at health centres, Ruto urged them to return to work to ensure people access services.
“Definitely that is not right and we are asking them to please return, healthcare is a matter of life and death,” he urged.
Health services in some county medical centres had been paralysed especially in Mombasa and Homabay counties after striking nurses boycotted work demanding for their pay.