Counties staring at major crisis over delay of Sh80bn from Treasury

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru

Council of Governors Chairperson Anne Waiguru at the council’s offices in Nairobi on Wednesday, November 22.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Operations in the counties could face major paralysis because the national government is yet to disburse more than Sh80 billion in equitable revenue share to the devolved units.

Some counties are grappling with the payment of staff salaries as well as remittance of statutory deductions due to the three- month delay of the money.

The latest development comes at a time when the Council of Governors (CoG) has rejected a proposal to send Sh398.14 billion to the 47 counties as equitable share of revenue for the financial year ending June 2025 and is pushing for Sh450 billion.

The Council said some of the arrears dates back to November last year and all the county governments have not received the December and January allocations.

The CoG Chairperson Anne Waiguru said Sh17.48 billion is owed to 24 counties for November allocations.

The counties that are yet to receive November funds are Siaya, Bomet, Busia, Bungoma, Embu, Garissa, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisii, West Pokot, Wajir, Vihiga, Turkana, Trans Nzoia, Tana River, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Samburu, Machakos, Makueni, Lamu and Kitui.

Further, another Sh30.83 billion is owed to all the counties for the December 2023 allocation and Sh32.76 billion for January 2024.

“We note with concern the delayed disbursement of equitable share of revenue considering we are three months on average in arrears,” said Ms Waiguru who is also the Kirinyaga governor.

“As of January 19, 2024, the National Treasury has yet to disburse Sh81.08 billion to counties as per the disbursement schedule approved by the Senate.”

Section 17(6) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 requires the National Treasury to release monies owed to counties at the beginning of the month, and in any event, not later than 15th of every month.

This comes against a backdrop of a promise made by President William Ruto, upon assuming office in 2022, that delayed disbursement of funds to counties will be a thing of the past.

The governors said that the delays have negatively impacted the ability of the county governments to respond effectively to emergencies such as the ongoing floods across various parts of the country occasioned by El Nino rains.

Additionally, the Council said that the delays have resulted in non-compliance by the devolved units to remit statutory deductions.

“In this regard, we call upon the National Treasury to immediately release the Sh81.08 billion owed to county governments without any further delay,” said Ms Waiguru.

The counties are due to receive Sh32.761 billion for February, Sh30.833 billion in March, Sh34.68 billion in April, Sh32.76 billion in May and Sh30.83 billion in June to round off the current financial year.

At the same time, the governors are set to lock horns with the national government over equitable share of revenue for the coming fiscal year.