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HomeBriefingCounty workers risk an uncertain fate as governors threaten shutdown

County workers risk an uncertain fate as governors threaten shutdown


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Nyeri Governor, Mutahi Kahiga, has announced that county government employees will be sent home if the National Treasury does not disburse funds by Friday. In a speech delivered at Nyeri Town Hall, Governor Kahiga expressed concern over the delays that adversely affected staff salaries, contractor payments, medicine procurement, and other county operations.

“I have no choice but to allow my workers to take a break because I lack the necessary funds to sustain the county’s operations. Some employees are even unable to afford transportation to work. They can resume their duties once the funds are available,” stated Governor Kahiga.

The governor urgently appealed to the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Njuguna Ndung’u, to expedite the release of funds to prevent an imminent crisis, including potential strikes by doctors and a shortage of medicine leading to loss of life.

Governor Kahiga emphasized that failing to remit money to county governments implies a desire to render them non-functional and devoid of authority. He argued that such actions were unlawful since the National Treasury should allocate at least 15% of the national revenue to the counties after deducting a portion of the national debt.

While acknowledging that counties received funding in March, Governor Kahiga pointed out that some devolved units resorted to costly borrowing from financial institutions. He warned that this approach was futile as it only covered salaries without addressing other critical county needs.

The Governor’s statement aligns with the concerns expressed by Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa, Chairman of the Council of Governors’ Finance, Planning, and Economic Affairs Committee. Governor Barasa stated that governors could not effectively manage their counties and might be compelled to suspend operations.

Barasa further revealed that all 47 governors would convene a meeting to evaluate the possibility of shutting down counties if the National Treasury continues to renege on its promise of timely fund disbursement and complete absorption by the counties.

This development occurs against a financial crunch faced by devolved units, forcing them to seek bank overdrafts worth millions of shillings to cover salary expenses.

Governor Barasa emphasized that according to the law, the national treasury must release funds to counties by the 15th of each month, a commitment that has yet to be honoured.

He stated, “All 47 governors will convene a meeting to assess the potential shutdown of counties if the national treasury continues to renege on its promise of timely fund disbursement and ensuring full financial support for the counties.”

This action by the county governors comes when devolved units grapple with a severe financial crisis. As a result, they have been compelled to seek millions of shillings in overdrafts from banks solely to cover salary payments.

During the launch of the third Kakamega County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) at Bukhungu Stadium, Governor Barasa emphasized that it is a legal requirement for the national treasury to release funds to counties by the 15th of each month. This commitment has yet to be met.


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