What you need to know:
- The Council of Governors (CoG) on Monday alluded to the fact that financial measures instituted to contain the coronavirus are slowing down economic growth which will have a ripple effect on counties’ development.
- CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said county governments could review and revise their budgets to reprioritise spending towards mitigating the negative economic impacts of Covid-19.
Counties will be forced to review their development plans in the coming financial year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which calls for budget realignments.
The Council of Governors (CoG) on Monday alluded to the fact that financial measures instituted to contain the coronavirus are slowing down economic growth which will have a ripple effect on counties’ development.
CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said county governments could review and revise their budgets to reprioritise spending towards mitigating the negative economic impacts of Covid-19.
“In preparation to respond to post Covid-19, counties are reviewing their County Integrated Development Plans and their annual plans, re-engineering their 2020/2021 budgets to fit into the National Economic Stimulus Programme.
“As part of the global economy recovery, county governments are looking forward to accessing any international funding that may arise,” Mr Oparaya, also Kakamega Governor, said.
He was speaking at State House during this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations.
Responses to the coronavirus have taken a toll on county budgets, with more funds being redirected to fighting the pandemic.
The county bosses insist that there is enough money to respond to any medical emergencies occasioned by the disease, but accuse the National Treasury of failing to disburse the money on time.
In a statement last week, Mr Oparanya accused the Treasury of withholding Sh5 billion that President Uhuru Kenyatta announced would be used to support the war against Covid-19.
The Treasury is also accused of failing to disburse Sh353 million donated by the Danish Embassy to level two and three hospitals.
The council now wants these funds released before the end of the current financial year, which is less than a month away.
Yesterday, Mr Oparanya reiterated that the money should be released urgently to enable the counties to improve their responses to the disease.
“Counties have invested extensively in implementing the health measures, including refocusing our resources to strengthen the health systems to respond to Covid-19. All counties have reallocated a combined total of Sh6.1 billion to the emergency fund,” Mr Oparanya said.
He said Mombasa, Mandera, Kisumu, Kilifi, Kwale and Kitui counties, which reported cases when the disease broke out, received Sh2.3 billion collectively to boost their response.
The disease has spread widely in the country, affecting at least 34 counties out the 47, with Nairobi, Mombasa and Kajiado leading in the number of cases.
The Health ministry has said it is focusing on fighting the virus in the emerging hotspots. Most county governments have also suspended non-essential services and allowed their staff to work remotely.