Five counties are set to get the lion’s share of development funds from the national government and devolution partners following the Senate’s adoption of its finance committee’s report yesterday.
Kilifi, Turkana, Wajir, Kwale and West Pokot will get more of the additional allocations by the Treasury and international donors after legislators approved the disbursement schedule for the 2022/2023 financial year.
Apart from the Treasury’s Sh5.6 billion, counties will also get Sh23 billion – down from Sh32 billion – for loans and grants from development partners for the 2022/2023 financial year, which starts in July.
The Equalisation Fund for marginalised areas excluded Embu, Nairobi, Kakamega, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Makueni, Mombasa, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga, Nyandarua and Nyamira.
Kilifi will now get an additional Sh3.3 billion, followed by Turkana’s Sh2.3 billion, Wajir Sh2.1 billion, Kwale and West Pokot (Sh1.7 billion) and Garissa (Sh1.6 billion). Kakamega will get an additional Sh1.5 billion, Narok Sh1.4 billion and Mombasa Sh1.3 billion.
The least amount will go to Vihiga (Sh212.8 million), Bomet (Sh258.1 million), Nyandarua (Sh258.2 million), Siaya (Sh258.6 million) and Bungoma (Sh272.2 million).
According to the cash disbursement schedule as per the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act, the allocations include Sh13.5 billion for Equalisation Fund to 34 counties, Sh454 million for five regional headquarters and Sh5.2 billion for medical leasing equipment in all the 47 counties.
The five county headquarters that will benefit are Nyandarua (Sh121 million), Isiolo (Sh102 million), Tana River (Sh104 million), Tharaka-Nithi (Sh103 million) and Lamu (Sh24 million).
The approval of the disbursement schedule means the counties will get their allocations after Parliament passed the County Governments’ Additional Allocation Act, 2022. Initially, the conditional allocations from the national government and grants were included in the Division of Revenue Bill (DoRB) that shares funds raised nationally by the two levels as stipulated in Article 203 of the Constitution.
Help track funds
Makueni Senator Mutual Kilonzo Jnr lauded that separation of the DoRB from the county governments additional allocations Act, saying it will help senators track how funds are spent in the regions.
“It is exciting because this Bill is a product of tough negotiations led by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru to have additional allocations and conditional allocations set aside in a separate Bill,” said Mr Kilonzo Jr.
He said the separation of the two pieces of legislation will give the Senate an entry point to execute its oversight role on how money expended to counties are used.
“This is a good framework for understanding the allocations we get from the national government and the specifications thereof and the grants we get from donors. The Council of Governors (CoG) must have a foot in the discussions on grants that are given by our partners, what they are meant for and the priorities,” said Mr Kilonzo Jr.
Article 202 (2) of the Constitution stipulates that the county government may be given additional allocations from the national government’s share of the revenue either conditionally or unconditionally.
Further, pursuant to Article 191, Parliament is obliged to legislate on matters that would ensure that county governments have adequate resources for them to execute their functions.
“Upon enactment, the legal instrument will facilitate the transfer of conditional and non-conditional allocation made to counties from the consolidated fund to the respective county revenue funds and special purpose accounts. The total additional allocation in the Bill amounts to Sh42.831 billion,” said Senator Farhiya Ali.
Last week, the CoG implored on the Senate to pass the cash disbursement schedule to allow Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to release funds to counties before it adjourns sine die this Thursday. “The council notes with utmost concern that the subsequent steps to ensure prompt transfer of these funds to counties have been delayed due to lack of approval of the disbursement schedule by the Senate,” noted CoG chairman Martin Wambora.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei welcomed the allocation of the Equalisation Fund to 34 counties. “Counties need resources. Some governors are misusing funds by branding state vehicles. We are passing these funds because schools are in need. We need our roads repaired. Our farmers cannot take their produce to the market,” he said.