BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,13TH DEC 2019-The council of governors has all reasons to celebrate after the High Court on Friday ordered the National Treasury to release all withheld funds allocated to county governments.
The Treasury Department was directed to release funds for 35 county government following an application by Council of Governors (CoG) Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.
CoG counsel had told the court the National Treasury was yet to remit monies in some cases dating back to November.
In the application certified as urgent, Oparanya asked the court to compel the National Treasury to make monthly payments to counties to avert financial crises in counties.
According to the Public Finance Management Act monies to counties ought to be disburses latest on the fifteenth day of the respective month.
CoG has on several occasions voiced concerns over delays in disbursements of funds noting that despite the appointment of Margaret Nyakang’o to head the Office of Controller of Budget that has been vacant since Agness Odhiambo’s exit in August, county governments were unable to draw funds from their revenue accounts.
Consequently, the counties have been unable to fulfill their financial obligations, including paying salaries to thousands of county workers, statutory deductions and payment of pending bills to suppliers.
A similar situation was witnessed in August when county government workers threatened to down their tools over delayed salaries.
Four trade unions including Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU), Kenya County Workers Union, the Union of the Kenya Civil Servants and the Kenya Union of Nurses had given county governments an ultimatum to pay their members’ salaries failure to which they would withdraw their services.
Acting National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukuru Yatani had earlier threatened that the ministry will stop cash disbursements to counties that have not paid suppliers for goods and services already delivered.
Yatani said that only 12 counties had complied with the directive to settle their pending bills.
Machakos, Nairobi, Mombasa, Narok, Vihiga, Tana River, Kirinyaga, Garissa, Turkana, Meru, West Pokot, Homa Bay, Kwale, Kisumu, Kiambu, and Nakuru owed over Sh1 billion in pending bills as at November 28,2019.