The Council of Governors (COG) has asked President William Ruto to direct the National Treasury to disburse funds to the county governments.

The Council’s Chairperson and Kirinyaga governor Ann Waiguru said the delay in disbursement of Ksh51.7B is hampering service delivery in counties and urged Treasury to release the funds by next Monday 10th October.

She said 3rd Generation of County Governments have started on a bleak note due to lack of resources to pay salaries or implement projects.

The county chiefs are appealing to the executive to direct the National Treasury to grant CoG a vote for direct funding in the wake of the new Government structure that has seen the Ministry of Devolution struck out and as such, the modalities of funding to the Council is affected.

Waiguru said of the outstanding arrears, Kshs.20.31 billion are owed to 27 Counties for August 2022 allocation and Kshs.31.45 billion owed to 47 Counties for September 2022 allocation.

“We wish to inform members of the public that the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 requires the National Treasury to disburse funds to Counties on the 15th Day of every month without undue delay,” she said.

The governor said COG hopes the National Treasury will comply with the provisions of the law to release the funds on time adding that counties expect to get Kshs. 29.6 billion for the month of October.

She said continued delay in disbursement of funds has paralyzed County operations in regard to payment of salaries to workers, purchase of medical supplies, development projects and slowed interventions to address ongoing drought situation in counties.

“Delays and the unpredictable disbursements of funds has negative impact on service delivery and Counties run the risk of accruing pending bills. The Council, calls upon the National Treasury to release all the outstanding disbursements to Counties on or before October 10, 2022,” Waiguru noted.

The Kirinyaga governor said the delay in the passage of the County Governments Additional Allocations Bill, 2022 had slowed the release of the outstanding Ksh. 27.68 billion Conditional Allocations to County Governments for FY 2021/22 while Ksh. 37 billion conditional allocations for the current FY 2022/23, remain outstanding.

She said proposed amendments to the Intergovernmental Relations Act, 2012 to anchor the CoG Secretariat in Law have never been considered by Parliament.

“In order, to support intergovernmental relations and to ensure that County Governments are fully supported to undertake their constitutional mandate, we urge the 13th Parliament to prioritize consideration of the amendments immediately the same is tabled before the House,” she added.

The Council said a new directive from the Office of Controller of Budget to have all county workers paid through Unified Human Resource Information system could leave a number of casuals in the Counties that are not in the payroll system out of salaries for months.

“To address the payment issue, County Governments will furnish the Office of the Controller of Budget with the required information to facilitate speedy payment of their salaries,” she said.

This week, COG has been meeting various development partners in a bid to identify areas in which they can work together with counties to enhance service delivery.

By Fred Azelwa.