Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Governors protest Treasury move to reduce county budgets

Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero. Governors have protested The Treasury’s move to reduce county governments’ budgetary allocations May 8, 2013. FILE
Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero. Governors have protested The Treasury’s move to reduce county governments’ budgetary allocations May 8, 2013. FILE 
Posted  Wednesday, May 8  2013 at  13:39
Governors have protested The Treasury’s move to reduce county governments’ budgetary allocations.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said it was wrong for the Ministry of Finance to reduce the amount from the more than Sh204 billion proposed by the Commission for Revenue Allocation.
Speaking after giving a key note address at Rural-urban dynamics and the millennium development goals function at Stanley Hotel in Nairobi Wednesday, Dr Kidero said governors will meet soon to deliberate on the matter.
“The Commission for Revenue Allocation had set the target which has not been respected. The amount has been reduced to Sh198 billion. The reduction is totally unacceptable,” Dr Kidero said.
Dr Kidero said counties need adequate funding for development and provision of services.
He said counties have to be empowered to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and for them to be centres of economic activities.
He said the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments should be respected.
Dr Kidero said the assurance given by President Kenyatta that the Jubilee government is committed to devolution should be in “spirit, word and letter of the Constitution".
On Tuesday, it was announced that county governments will share Sh204 billion in the 2013/14 financial year.
This was agreed during a meeting between Treasury, Commission of Revenue Allocation and Transition Authority.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy President William Ruto who said the Jubilee Government wanted devolution to succeed to better Kenyans lives.
Treasury which had initially allocated Sh154 billion agreed to raise the figure to Sh175 billion. The remainder of Sh29 billion will be allocated to counties as conditional and non-conditional grants.
A formula that the Treasury will use to share revenue between the national and county governments is set to be introduced to the National Assembly.
Last week, the government unveiled a Sh1.6 trillion expenditure projection as it lay ground to fulfil promises made during campaigns.
In budget estimates tabled by the parliamentary Majority Leader, the national government budgeted for Sh1 trillion with 43 per cent going to development expenditure.
On Tuesday, the government tabled the Division of Revenue Bill 2013 setting Sh198.7 billion as allocation to county governments.
Repay billions
Governors and other stakeholders have in the recent past accused the accused the Treasury of planning to scuttle devolution of power and resources to the county governments.
Dr Kidero said Nairobi county wants the government and other debtors to repay billions of shillings owed to it to address its budget shortfall.
“We want to agree on how the debts will be serviced,” Dr Kidero said.
Dr Kidero said Nairobi County government was working with the World Bank to provide infrastructure and other services to city residents.
The governor said 500,000 houses are required to be built in the city in next 10 years.
World Bank senior economist Vandana Chandra who released global monitoring report 2013 on MDGs said it showed Kenya will not meet some of the goals until 2050.
The goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality rates and improving sanitation facilities.
However, Ms Chandra said achieving gender equality and empowering women could be achieved by 2020.
“However, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The government has to make efforts and accelerate achievement of MDGs,” Ms Chandra said.
She said the number of Kenyans living on a less than a dollar a day had increased from 36 per cent in 1990 to 40 per cent in 2010.
She said a majority of pupils who complete primary school in rural areas do not know how to read and write.

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