County Governments would receive Sh316.5 billion in the next financial year, the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto has agreed.
The meeting said the figure, which is equivalent to last year’s, was arrived at following depressed collections in the country.
Speaking during the IBEC meeting in Karen, Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) Chairperson Jane Kiringai said the National Government would retain a reduced figure of Sh1.54 Trillion.
“Based on the continued underperformance of ordinary (shareable) revenue, the budget committee of IBEC recommends that the allocations to each level of Government be maintained at the Financial Year 2019/2020,” she said.
The CRA boss said the commission was well aware that the financial year 2020/2021 division of revenue was being made in a constrained fiscal framework owing to the depressed revenue, high debt repayment and rising wage bill.
Ms Kiringai noted that the Commission was in agreement with the budget committee of IBEC that the shareable revenue to each level of government in the financial year 2020/2021 be maintained at the financial year 2019/2020 levels.
She called on both levels of Government to exercise austerity to tame unnecessary expenditures.
On his part, Dr Ruto asked counties to match their budget to the country’s revenue to ensure that the country does not spend more that it can collect.
Dr Ruto said: “We have lowered our revenue projections so that we try to live within our means. We have been projecting resources that we cannot collect.”
At the same time the Council of Governors agreed to meet the Controller of Budget to resolve the stalemate on the release of funds.
The Deputy President called for a concerted effort among the relevant stakeholders to address issues that hinder the management of pending bills.
He said: “Treasury, members of the Council of Governors and representatives from county assembly should meet and agree on a way forward.”
Present were Chairman of the Council of Governors and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o and Chief Registrar Anne Amadi.
Other were Governors Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang’a), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Stephen Sang (Nandi), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Stanley Kiptis (Baringo).
The Governors said some counties are unable to manage recurrent expenditures due to the issue of pending bills.
Mr Wa Iria called for speedy processing of county funds meant for essential services and salaries by reducing red-tape.
Mr Sang said: “It is insensitive for us to subject junior staff to untold suffering yet this are the same people needed to serve.”
On his part, Mr Ottichilo said delayed disbursement of funds had paralysed health services in Vihiga County as health workers had gone on strike.
Ms Nyakang’o said she was ready to work with the Governors to resolve the issue.
She dismissed claims that her office was deliberately withholding funds to frustrate counties.
Ms Nyakang’o said: “We are not holding any funds, we will clear all the pending releases.”
Mr Yatani said there was need to come up with a formula that would avert perennial delayed disbursement of funds to counties.
He said: “We must agree on a mechanism where employees do not suffer and also ensure essential services like health are not affected.”