National govt holding Sh272.2bn for devolved functions

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 7 – Several critical elements of the devolved functions accounting for Sh272.2 billion are still under the administration of the National Government, even a decade after the initiation of devolution.

The Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) highlighted the issue during its appearance before the Senate Standing Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations.

Led by its Chairperson CPA Githinji Kiragu, the IGRTC delegation informed the Senators that a significant portion of resources required for funding devolved functions remains within the jurisdiction of the National Government.

In their appeal to the Committee and the broader Senate, the delegation sought intervention to facilitate the complete transfer of devolved functions and the necessary resources for their effective implementation.

The IGRTC delegation emphasized the necessity for reaching a consensus regarding the quantity and timeline for the transfer of resources. They urged Parliament to incorporate the funds appropriately and punctually into the County Allocation Revenue Act.

To address the prevailing challenges, the IGRTC highlighted the crucial requirement for both levels of Government to exhibit political goodwill and commitment.

Furthermore, the Committee conveyed that the Library function distribution was outlined in Legal Notice No.142 of August 2019. This notice allocated 59 libraries across 33 Counties.

IGRTC has advised the Senate that the remaining 14 Counties should receive support in establishing libraries via a conditional grant, starting with an initial offering of 100 million shillings for each County.

Additionally, IGRTC pointed out issues and confusion in the allocation of library funds. They implored the Senate to mediate and resolve these matters amicably.

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“The allocation of the library funds was distributed as part of the equitable share to the 47 county governments and not as a grant to the 33 county governments to which libraries and staff were transferred. As a result, county governments with libraries received allocations that were lower than the original allocation to cater for staff remuneration,” Kiragu said.

He further added, “On the other hand, county governments that did not receive libraries and staff were erroneously allocated funds. In the circumstances, some county governments have failed to take up the function due to less budgetary allocation to perform the function and the expanded wage bill.”

Regarding the Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) function, IGRTC conveyed that it was devolved without clear resources for implementation. They urged legislators to assist in resolving this challenge.

The IGRTC stressed the need for a National Symposium that would convene all stakeholders to discuss the current state of Devolution.

The Senate Committee members assured IGRTC of their support and encouraged the body to be forthright in carrying out their responsibilities.

The Committee included Wajir County Senator Mohamed Abass (Chairperson), Senator Catherine Mumma (Vice Chairperson), Senator Mohamed Chute of Marsabit County, and Senator Richard Onyonka of Kisii County.

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