, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – A Senate committee has summoned National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to appear before it within seven days to respond to concerns over delayed disbursement of funds to counties.
Senate Finance, Commerce and Economic Affairs Committee chairman Billow Kerrow (Mandera) said the decision to summon the CS had been prompted by the fact that he had failed to honour several invitations to appear before the committee.
“Despite writing twice to the Treasury CS to come, he has not honoured the invitations. This is a matter of national importance and urgent,” said Kerrow.
He cited a letter by the Council of Governors who had petitioned the Senate to inquire from the ministry the cause of the delayed disbursement which had hampered service delivery in the counties.
Governors had decried stalled development projects since counties lacked monies to pay suppliers while others were not able to provide adequate healthcare due to lack of funds in their accounts to purchase medicine.
CoG Chairman Peter Munya (Meru) has also stated that for the months of July, August and September, several counties had not received their monthly allocations and even protest letters to the Treasury had not yielded any fruit.
“Counties are grinding to a halt,” he said.
Kerrow referred to the County Allocation of Revenue Act which requires that the National Government transfers revenue allocated to counties at least 15 days in advance, each month, but for many counties, this has not been the case.
Rotich had admitted that there was a delay but later stated that all the monies had been disbursed to counties.
“The law is clear that the National Government must transfer the money in time. Some counties have been forced to borrow short term loans to pay salaries and meet other financial obligations,” stated Kerrow.
This, he said had exposed counties to cash flow challenges which would worsen would as loans will have to be repaid with interest.
“The government is facing serious financial crisis. Inability to pay salaries continues. Transfer of money to counties and even institutions like Parliament being unable to pay their bills is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
Kerrow further expressed concern over the current economic situation in the country and the fact that several financial institutions were crumbling down saying this was sending bad signals to investors.
“Stability of financial institutions is critical to the development of a country. The increasing lending rates in banks will affect the country’s economic growth,” he said.
Senators present during the sitting included Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Peter Mositet (Kajiado), Ben Njoroge (Nominated), John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) and Catherine Mukite (Nominated).