NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 1 – Governors now want the Sh4.6 billion which was allocated by the World Bank as conditional grants to the counties to support the Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) to be diverted for the fight against coronavirus.
Council of Governors Chairman (CoG) Martin Wambora said the funds will be instrumental to the devolved units are overstretched due to lack of funds.
“The funds if availed will go a long way in containing this vicious wave. CoG Finance Committee Chairman Ndiritu Muriithi and a section of Governors are engaging with the National Treasury to ensure that is possible,” he said.
The Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) is financed by the World Bank to support capacity building and technical assistance at the county level.
The Program’s Development Objective is to strengthen capacity of core national and county institutions to improve delivery of devolved services at the county level.
While calling for a more concerted effort between the national and county governments in the fight against the virus, the Embu Governor said the National Treasury was the weakest link in the ongoing fight noting that counties have been starved of cash since December last year.
National Treasury had in January, 2021 released Sh24.6 billion to counties as part of their equitable share.
Lack of funding at the devolved units has seen workers, especially in the health sector, go on strike paralysing services in public hospitals.
The delayed release of funds, coupled with poor own-revenue collections, have resulted in a cash crunch that has seen counties threaten to shut down services for lack of money.
To stem the raising cases of infections in counties, Governor Wambora said the policy on ‘no mask no service’ will be strictly enforced even as he welcomed the containment measures which were issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week.
“It is one of the key responsibilities of the nation and county governments’ to protect and safe lives of its citizens,” he said.
The Head of State among other raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus banned movement into and out of Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Nakuru and Kiambu counties.