Tuesday, 09 July 2024 07:53

GOVERNORS HIT OUT AT TREASURY OVER PLANS TO SLASH COUNTY BUDGET BY KSH. 5B

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Governors have rejected the National Treasury’s plan to reduce the equitable share allocated to devolved units in the 24/25 financial year by ksh. 5 billion, noting that it undermines the spirit of devolution and is a threat to effective service delivery to Kenyans.
Addressing a press following a Council meeting held on Friday, 21st June 2024 at the CoG offices in Nairobi, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E. Anne Waiguru cited Section 5 (1) of the Division of Revenue Act (DoRA) 2024, which stipulates that any shortfall in nationally raised revenue should be borne by the national government, not counties.
“We wish to state unequivocally that the Council rejects this proposal in totality,” said the Kirinyaga governor.
She further urged the exchequer to expedite the timely release of outstanding disbursements to Counties for the month of June 2024 amounting to ksh. 30.83 billion to enable the devolved units meet their obligations, especially in healthcare and payment of salaries for county staff.
The Council meeting was convened to discuss key issues affecting County Governments including claw back on devolution and the roll out of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Speaking during the engagement with Governors Health CS Susan Nakhumicha said that preparation for the rollout of Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF) will commence on July 1st 2024 with registration of persons.
It was agreed that the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with County Governments shall conduct a public campaign on the roll out of registration of citizenry to Social Health Authority (SHA).
“The exercise will be conducted through self - registration by use of a USSD *147* or www.sha.go.ke. Kenyans will also be assisted in registration by community health promoters, NHIF staff in the offices and any other registration point designated by the SHA board,” noted the Health CS adding that there would be continued provision of comprehensive medical insurance services for the next two months during the transition from NHIF to SHIF.
Further, both parties agreed that: MOH shall ensure the transfer of funds allocated to CHPs in the Special Purpose Account opened by County Governments commencing the FY 24/25; MOH shall support Counties in the rollout of the comprehensive integrated health information system for facilitation of health service delivery; MOH shall cover all cost pertaining to the rollout and maintenance of the Integrated Health Information System; MOH shall ensure the Ksh. 8 billion owed to Counties by the defunct NHIF is paid and; both parties to hold continuous engagements to ensure effective implementation of UHC.
The county bosses also stressed the need to settle debts owed for a smooth transition, particularly with outstanding bills at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa), which they said requires a resolution by the National Government.
“It will not be possible to settle those debts for Kemsa unless we get our full disbursement. We have to make a hard choice between paying the debt for Kemsa and paying salaries for the workers who are working in those hospitals.” said Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, who also chairs the CoG Health Committee.
On claw back on devolution in devolved sectors, Governor Waiguru highlighted the recent notice issued by the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) for a public consultation meeting regarding the licensing of Athi Water Works Development Agency as a Water Service Provider for the Northern Collector Tunnel (NTC).
“This conflicts with Nairobi County’s constitutional mandate to provide water and sanitation services,” added the CoG Chair while calling upon WASREB and the Ministry of Water to immediately suspend the public participation process until all constitutional and statutory concerns are addressed.
Additionally, governors urged the National Government to fast track the gazettement of transferred functions following the conclusion of the exercise of unbundling of functions and transfer of attendant resources and stakeholder engagement process in March 2024.
This will enable Counties to ensure the smooth running of operations and safeguard the gains made in devolution thus far.

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