IBEC meeting, Cabinet secretaries and governors yesterday snubbed a meeting convened by Deputy President William Ruto to discuss devolution.
The DP presided over the influential Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council, where significant concerns impacting devolved entities were debated.
Ruto was flanked by only three governors allied to his political wing; Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora (Embu), Josphat Nanok (Turkana), and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu).
Despite the team discussed important issues such as money to counties and general devolution issues, not a single CS attended the meeting.
According to Ruto, the team got multiple reports from various actors in the devolution arena, including Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o.
“We received a report from the Auditor General on the audit of pending bills. The audit determined that Sh45.5 billion is payable out of Sh153 billion that was reported,” the DP said.
the meeting directed the Treasury to cooperate with the Attorney General’s office to assess the status of the ineligible pending invoices totaling Sh107 billion.
IBEC also instructed the counties to make payment of pending invoices a top priority.
The council also directed the intergovernmental relations technical committee to complete the ongoing asset and liability valuation of the county at least a month before the general election.
The meeting took place just hours after governors called for an emergency intervention to avert a looming humanitarian crisis caused by drought and famine across the country.
The Council of Governors said more than 360,000 people are in the ‘emergency’ phase of starvation and more than 800,000 are facing malnutrition.
“The drought situation in the country continues to be a challenge, especially in the arid and semi-arid counties.
Currently, more than 3.1 million people are food insecure in 24 counties,” CoG vice-chairman James Ongwae said.
Addressing a press conference at CoG headquarters at Delta House in Nairobi on Tuesday, the governors said many Kenyans risk losing their lives if the government does not move fast.
“In this regard, we call upon the concerned ministry to expedite support to the affected counties so that the suffering is alleviated,” Ongwae said.
Ongwae disclosed that the Treasury has so far released Sh221.6 billion out of Sh370 billion allocated to the counties in equitable share in the current financial year with barely two months to the end of the financial year.
“The total outstanding balance for the FY 2021-22 amounts to Sh148.39 billion. The outstanding amount owed to counties as per the disbursement schedule stand at Sh87.34 billion,” he said.
On Monday, the Controller of Budget blamed the low absorption of the funds by some counties for the delayed releases.
But the governors denied the claims, saying the devolved units are being starved of funds.