Unease as Treasury delays sending funds to counties

National Treasury

The National Treasury Building in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Senators have raised the alarm over the delay to disburse money to county governments.
  • The Council of Governors has also complained about the incessant delay of money.

Senators have raised the alarm over the delay by the national government to disburse money to county governments.

The lawmakers said that most counties are facing a paralysis of services.

The Senate Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations Committee Chairperson Senator Mohamed Abass said the delays are a matter of grave concern.

The Wajir senator said that some counties last received their equitable share of revenue in September last year. The backlog in payments is causing unnecessary suffering in the counties, the senator added.

Mr Abass said that some counties have been forced to take loans that attract high interest rates to pay their staff.

Contractors and suppliers, who have done business with the county governments, are hard hit because pending bills have not been paid.

“As we talk now, the last time governors received money was either in October or September last year. There is a backlog of payments. Devolution is under threat because money is not being funds are not being released on time.,” said Mr Abass.

“This House must take this seriously. We need to release those funds so that counties can work and deliver. Many people are going out of business because they have not been paid their money,” he added.

The Council of Governors (CoG) has also complained about the incessant delay of money.

Last month, the Council said that the 47 counties were yet to receive more than Sh80 billion from the National Treasury in equitable revenue share. Counties are grappling with payment of their employees’ salaries and remittance of statutory deductions.

The CoG said counties had not been given money from December to January.

The CoG Chairperson Anne Waiguru, who is also the Kirinyaga governor said counties that counties that are yet to receive money for the November 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 47 counties for the December 2023 allocation and Sh32.76 billion for January.

“As of January 19, the National Treasury is yet to disburse Sh81.08 billion to counties as per the schedule approved by the Senate,” Ms Waiguru said.

According to section 17(6) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, the National Treasury shall at the beginning of the month, and in any event, not later than 15th of every month.

The counties are expected to get 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 for this financial year.

The CoG has rejected Sh398.14 billion allocated to counties as the share of revenue for the financial year ending June 2025, they want Sh450 billion.