Counties get Sh460 billion in new plan

Council of Governors chairperson Ann Waiguru flanked by some of the Governors

Council of Governors chairperson Ann Waiguru flanked by some of the Governors. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Counties will be given Sh460 billion this year if a plan by the government to transfer an additional Sh75 billion for devolved functions undertaken by the national administration is ratified by Parliament.

This is a win for governors, who accuse the government of retaining devolved functions as counties are underfunded.

“Conversion of national government budget on possible duplication of functions and attendant resources that may be transferred to counties results to Sh75.4 billion additional allocation to counties. This brings the total Sh460 billion, translating to 29 per cent of recent audited revenue and 18 per cent of projected shareable revenue for the 2023/24 financial year,” a brief by the Treasury, says.

On donor-funded projects that fall in this category, Treasury advises renegotiating terms.

“It is recommended that for externally funded projects, the ministries concerned, jointly with the National Treasury and the county governments, engage development partners with a view to facilitating the transfer of the resources to counties as conditional grants,” the Treasury brief says.

Treasury also wants state agencies affected by the plan to “initiate discussions with devolved governments with the objective of developing a framework for management of the conditional grants” not later than first week of March.

“The President is requested to note the contents of this brief and direct the Treasury to incorporate the conditional allocations in the 2023 County Governments Additional Allocations Bill and resubmit to Parliament,” the brief says.

This means counties could get the money in the financial year that begins in July if the amended bill gets parliamentary nod. The Ministry of Health will be the biggest casualty of the plan.

The National Treasury wants the ministry to cede to counties Sh7.591 billion for vaccines and immunisation; another Sh3 billion for other set of vaccines; Sh500 million for works to complete Level Three hospitals; Sh9 billion for the malaria, TB and HIV/Aids programme, Sh1 billion for family planning; and Sh1.2 billion for the UN Population Fund scheme.

But these come with a rider.

“Procurement of vaccines and immunisation shall be managed by the Ministry of Health. The ministry shall, jointly with county governments, develop a framework for the distributions of the vaccines and immunisation,” the Treasury brief adds.

The National Treasury proposes additional allocations to counties in the Health Ministry as Sh2 billion for Dedan Kimathi Comprehensive Cancer Project; some Sh620 million for the construction of a new cancer centre at Kisii Level Five Hospital; and Sh1.062 billion to upgrade maternal and new born units at various hospitals.

Treasury wants Sh5.862 billion on leasing of medical equipment and Sh577.5 million to be disbursed as currently allocated, as conditional grants to counties.

In the Ministry of Agriculture, projects implemented by the government, and which will go to counties, include Sh3.339 billion in the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development and Sh2.1 billion in the Livestock Value Chain Support project.