What you need to know:
- Makueni County leaders are staring at a crisis, with Members of County Assembly being among those hit by pay delays.
- In Kakamega, the county paid its workers last week after taking a bank loan.
- In Nakuru, over 5,000 employees received their salaries after the county diverted resources initially allocated to other projects.
- At the Coast, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu have paid the salaries for the workers
The cash crisis in counties has deepened as Senate drags its feet to reach revenue sharing formula, with thousands of workers now going without July and August salaries.
Some governors have been forced to turn to commercial loans as others re-allocate and divert budgets from critical dockets to pay their workers.
This comes as the National Assembly continues to stand between the devolved units and 50 per cent of their equitable allocation from the National Treasury.
Last week, National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi gave a notice of motion seeking to give Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani the nod to release funds, but the House is on recess until September 8.
Makueni County leaders are staring at a crisis, with Members of County Assembly being among those hit by pay delays.
County governments shut down
“Senate has literally shut down county governments. For two months — July and August — we cannot deliver services or pay salaries. How is Senate protecting counties and devolution? Who cares for Wanjiku?” Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana told the Nation.
In Kakamega, the county paid its workers last week after taking a bank loan. Workers in Kisii and Nyamira are yet to receive their salaries for August, with governors James Ongwae and John Nyagarama attributing the delays to the National Treasury’s failure to open cash taps.
“There are some workers who have not been paid for two months now. We shall not work if the government does not want to take care of our welfare,” said Kenya Union of Civil Servants chairman Tom Aketch.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Finance executive Patrick Kamar said the county cannot pay its workers now.
“We are in a fix. Things down here are not looking so good. We have not paid personal emoluments for our staff as we speak,” said Mr Kamar.
In Nakuru, over 5,000 employees received their salaries after the county diverted resources initially allocated to other projects.
Kiambu County is in talks with several banks to provide money which will be repaid once the Exchequer releases county funds.
“We have been having issues in paying our employees because of the delays by the Treasury to release the money to the counties, but we are addressing the situation and we have so far engaged the affected employees to ensure that they are paid,” a source in Governor James Nyoro’s government told the Nation.
In Samburu, the county government is yet to pay employees’ salaries for the months of July and August.
Finance executive Dorcas Lekisanyal said they have received approval from the Controller of Budget to draw money from the county government account to pay salaries.
Laikipia is also yet to pay several employees, including casual labourers attached to various departments and nurses who were deployed to the county under the Universal Health Coverage programme.
Key services stalled
In Uasin Gishu, Governor Jackson Mandago Wednesday lamented that services in key departments — including health and transport — have stalled due to insufficient funds to buy equipment and fuel vehicles, derailing implementation of projects and slowing down the fight against Covid-19.
August salaries for workers in Migori delayed, with Finance director Paul Mwita asking them “to expect their salaries from September 5”.
In Embu, Finance executive John Njagi told the workers to be patient, assuring them that they will get their salaries immediately funds are disbursed by the National Treasury.
Similarly, in Kirinyaga, the workers have not been paid their salaries for July and August. The workers said they could not service their bank loans.
In Nyeri, Finance chief Robert Thuo said that they were processing the salaries with the hope of paying the workers before next week.
Last month, the county government received Sh445.4 million as part of the June allocation whereby Sh340 million was used to pay salaries and settle supplier debts.
Ngilu, MCAs’s standoff
Staff in Kitui are staring at delayed salaries for the second month running as the budget standoff between the executive and county assembly persists.
The long-running dispute between Governor Charity Ngilu and Kitui MCAs saw the workers miss their July salaries and the processing of their August pay cannot be done until the stalemate is resolved.
Both sides have been trading accusations over the matter, with Mrs Ngilu blaming the county assembly for allegedly disregarding the law by mutilating her budget proposals for the 2020/21 financial year and failing to pass the vote on account, to settle political scores.
On the other hand, the MCAs led by their Speaker George Ndotto, argued that the executive ought to have submitted the Appropriation Bill, before they pass the vote on account.
At the Coast, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu have paid the salaries for the workers. Bungoma and Tharaka-Nithi have also paid July and August salaries
Reported by Waikwa Maina, Eric Matara, Geoffrey Ondieki, Steve Njuguna, Brian Wachira, Kalume Kazungu, Fadhili Fredrick, Maureen Ongala, Gitonga Marete, Ruth Mbula, George Odiwuor, Brian Ojamaa, Ian Byron, Derick Luvega, Elizabeth Ojina, Evans Kipkura, Onyango K’onyango, Pius Maundu, Regina Kinogu, Alex Njeru, Simon Ciuri, Kitavi Mutua and George Munene.