BROKE?

Spend Sh34 billion lying idle in your accounts, Yatani tells counties

The Treasury boss blames adverse effects of Covid -19 for cash delay

In Summary

•In a letter to Yatani on Monday, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya lamented that the Treasury is yet to release Sh94.7 billion to counties.

•So far, the CS said, the Treasury has released Sh133 billion to the devolved units for the 2020-2021 financial year.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani.
Treasury CS Ukur Yatani.
Image: FILE

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani has challenged county governments to utilise the Sh34.6 billion lying idle in their CBK accounts.

But Yatani admitted disbursement to the devolved units has delayed.

In a statement, responding to Council of Governors that has threatened to sue the Treasury for delaying the release of county cash, Yatani said balances at the CBK show the counties are yet to utilise the cash.

“Nonetheless, the National Treasury notes that as at January 13, 2021, the balances of county governments at CBK stand at Sh34.6 billion and appeals to them to make full use of these funds,” reads a part of the statement.

The statement will likely trigger reactions from the governors who have been critical of the Treasury for allegedly withholding their cash.

In a letter to Yatani on Monday, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya lamented that the Treasury is yet to release Sh94.7 billion to counties.

He said the counties have not received disbursements for four months, October, November, December and January affecting operations and subjecting workers to suffering.

Oparanya said the delay has hindered service delivery in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic when the county governments are expected to be at the frontline in offering health services.

He copied the letter to Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Kenneth Lusaka.

“The delay in disbursement of these funds has negatively affected lives of county government civil servants and service delivery in the following aspects; failure of payment to contractors, failure of development budget implementation and failure of submission of statutory deduction,” he said.

In his statement, Yatani admitted the delays in disbursement of the cash to the counties.

He, however, differed with the governors that the cash has fallen behind by four months.

“However, due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 and the subsequent containment measures that have slowed down the pace of economic activities, the disbursements to county governments are falling behind by two months,” he said.

So far, the CS said, the Treasury has released Sh133 billion to the devolved units for the 2020-2021 financial year.

Of the transfers, Sh12.02 billion has been disbursed as part of the equitable share due to the counties and Sh13 billion as conditional grants.

However, according to a report by the Controller of Budget on the status of Exchequer release obtained by the Star, the Treasury had disbursed to the counties Sh126.05 billion out of Sh373 billion as at Monday this week.

This is an equivalent of 34 per cent of their total annual allocation.

Yatani expressed optimism that the balance will be disbursed in due course with the opening up of the economy and the reversal of the tax relief measures.

“The Treasury expects revenue collection to improve from the current Quarter and will prioritise disbursements to county governments with a view to clearing the arrears,” he said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris