Mombasa governor Hassan Joho is seeking Senate’s help to recover Sh28 billion land rates owed to the county.
Appearing before the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee, Joho said some of the defaulters are government agencies and institutions, and urged the Senate to develop a law to recover monies owed to counties.
He told the committee chaired by Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang’ to intervene on the accumulated debts, saying the county’s finances are stretched.
“At the time of the audit, the debt was Sh 11 billion but today, we have Sh28 billion outstanding land rates,” Joho said.
“I am asking Senate to help us on this because there is only so much we can do. How can you auction an army barracks?”
He said his administration has sent demand letters, to no avail, but added that it is discussing how the money can be paid with the national government.
“Seventy per cent of this money is owed by the national government, which is not paying,” he said.
This is not the first time a county government is crying foul over unpaid debts by national government institutions.
In 2016, the Nairobi government petitioned the Senate over a Sh62 billion debt owed to City Hall by the national government and its agencies in land rates and parking fees.
Joho also asked the Senate to review the revenue sharing formula to protect city counties, which he claimed are currently getting a raw deal.
Joho faulted the current revenue sharing model based on night population, saying the outcome does not reflect the reality in the counties.
The governor argued city counties experience high population during the day and they require services on a daily basis.
He wants senators set up a special fund for Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu counties to take care of the “daytime reality”.
“The census was done at night but we have huge influx of people who come to the city during the day and they expect to get services from the county,” Joho said.
“People come to these cities because there are opportunities and better facilities. This has raised the cost of rendering services. We need a special consideration for the county cities,” he said.