NO SALARIES

Counties scale down operations as financial crisis worsens

Bishop Kimengich urges senators to put aside selfish interets and resolve revenue sharing dispute.

In Summary

• Financial straits caused by Covid-19 now a full-blown crisis because funds haven't been been allocated to counties due to Senate stalemate over revenue sharing.

• Senators hold informal meeting on Monday, formal sitting on Tuesday in their 10th attempt to pass a formula and release funds. Council of Governors threatens to shut down counties if dispute persists.

 

Bishop Dominic Kimengich greets a crowd in Eldoret when he arrived from Lodwar on February 1. He has urged the Senate to end revenue sharing stalemate.
END STALEMATE: Bishop Dominic Kimengich greets a crowd in Eldoret when he arrived from Lodwar on February 1. He has urged the Senate to end revenue sharing stalemate.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

North Rift counties have scaled down operations due to the deepening financial crisis caused by the Senate stalemate on revenue sharing.

Most of the eight North Rift Economic Bloc counties have not paid salaries for three months. Some employees don't go to work.

Pending bills amount to more than Sh8 billion. Projects have stalled. Internal revenue collections have dwindled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Senate will convene on Tuesday for its 10th formal sitting to resolve the dispute on allocations for the counties but positions have hardened and compomise appears unlikely.

The Council of Governors has threatened to shut down the counties if the dispute remains unresolved.

Eldoret Catholic diocese bishop, Dominic Kimengich, said on Sunday the issue has been politicised because of leaders' selfish interests.

Kimengich said in his office senators should put aside their personal and political interests to sort out the dispute.

“This a matter of national interest and it's time the senators moved quickly to sort out the stalemate so counties, and especially employees, do not suffer more from lack of payment."

Noreb chairman Jackson Mandago, who is the Uasin Gishu governor, on Sunday also called on the senators to end the dispute.

“We cannot push our workers to perform their duties yet they have not been paid salaries for several months. They have families and other needs," he said in Eldoret.

Mandago urged the Treasury to prioritise salary payment.

In some counties, employees have kept off work, citing non-payment of salaries.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says counties are facing a worsening financial crisis. 

“We are ready to have funds released as soon as the stalemate is resolved," he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos said most county operations were grinding to a halt.

“The whole issue is undermining devolution, which cannot succeed without financing," Tolgos said.

(Edited by V. Graham)