, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 23 – Deputy President William Ruto has urged counties to exercise prudent management of public resources, including funds borrowed from the central government and also from external sources so as to ensure successful devolution.
Speaking while opening the National Conference on Managing Sub National Borrowing in Kenya, Ruto acknowledged that Devolution was working adding that they had successfully devolved power and resources.
“We have achieved milestones and while we have made progress in many areas, there are other areas where more needs to be done in order to deepen and entrench devolution in support of our development agenda. One such area is in identifying alternative ways in which more resources can be made available to Counties for development and this is the essence of this Conference,” said the Deputy President.
While expressing his delight at the progress the county governments were making, the Deputy President however said it was a necessity that leaders be accountable.
“Leaders at both National and County levels, accountability is being demanded of them as it should be because the reason why many citizens believed in devolution and believe in devolution today is because they want proper accountable use of resources,” Ruto added.
Among those present at the meeting was Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Isaac Ruto who is among a group of ‘rogue’ governors (Kiambu and Kisumu) who have declined to honour summons to appear before the Sessional County Public Accounts and Investments committee to respond to audit questions over spending.
The governors in their defense say they have no business appearing before the Senate since according to them, they (governors) are not accounting officers in the counties.
“We have not refused accountability. Article 226 says the accounting officer of the County Government accounts to the County Assembly. There is a PAC in the County Assembly. Even when we send those accounting officers to the Senate, they chase them away saying they want to see the governor. You (constitution drafters) did not give the Senate the power to deal with expenditure, you have given it to the National Assembly and the County Assembly,” Governor Ruto said Monday during a referendum debate to demystify facts from myths.
Speaking on behalf of the Council of Governors, Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya acknowledged the need to capitalize on the resources owned by the counties before seeking external assistance.
He said, “As county governments our growing concern is that we must first and foremost manage our resources before we even attempt to look for any external funding.”
The conference meant to come up with a framework on how and how much counties can borrow brought together officials from the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, the National Treasury, the Ministry of Devolution and National Planning, the World Bank and Governors among other experts.