Counties crucial in Big Four agenda

Coordination essential to achieve agenda

In Summary

•Devolution ministry to support  policy, planning, financing and implementation

•Initiative focuses on intergovernmental coordination to support Uhuru's development plan 

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Image: FILE

The government has developed a partnership framework aimed at strengthening consultations between the national and county governments for the realisation of the Big Four agenda. 

The structure focuses on intergovernmental coordination to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s development plan.

Devolution Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli said the ministry will facilitate consultations, capacity building and technical assistance to enable the county governments to implement the agenda.

He outlined their initiative during the fourth annual Legislative Summit in Kisumu. 

The Big Four are manufacturing and industrialisation, food security, affordable housing and universal health coverage. 

“County governments can only implement programs and projects contained in their approved CIDPs, ADPs and budgets as outlined in the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act,” he said. 

Sunkuli said the Food Security Bill 2017, aims to put in place an Act of Parliament giving every child a right to basic nutrition, shelter and health care, among others.

The initiative comes as more than one million people in 23 counties require urgent relief assistance due to the worsening drought situation in the country. 

"The number of people requiring relief assistance is likely to increase to 2.5 million in the next three months," the PS said.

The most affected counties are Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Baringo, Kilifi, Tana River, West Pokot, Marsabit, Makueni, Kajiado, Kwale, Isiolo and Wajir

The national government recently provided Sh1.85 billion, of which Sh602 million was meant for relief food, Sh600 million for household water storage programs and Sh600 million for the provision of strategic water facility maintenance and rehabilitation. 

To ascertain the provision of  UHC, Amref Country Director Meshack Ndirangu underlined the need to reform the National Health Insurance Fund and the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority to ensure delivery of quality and efficient services. 

Among the proposals, he pushed for include splitting the NHIF to one division accommodate the health insurance fund and the other to enforce collection of funds from the members. 

“NHIF should leave the management of health insurance to an independent and competent body like the Kenya Revenue Authority,” he said.

Ndirangu said that the health insurer should receive subsidies from the government to cater to those who are unable to raise the funds. 

The PFM Act should also be amended to allow health facilities to receive money directly for the services offered, he said. 

He added that the move will promote transparency and accountability.

Kisumu MCA Seth Okumu called on the county governments to work with community health volunteers and pass the County Health Information System Management Bill. This, Okumu said, will be one of the ways of making UHC work effectively.

Nyandarua county Speaker Wahome Ndegwa also asked MCAs to ensure health budgets are strictly adhered to. 

"We must ensure that the minimum budget for health is provided even if it will mean that we stop budget-making process as a way of pushing the executive," he said.


(Edited by R.Wamochie)