, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – Treasury will release Sh65 billion to pay pending bills by end of the month, a meeting of Governors and Deputy President William Ruto has agreed.
The meeting under the auspices of Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council chaired by Ruto also agreed to meet the House leadership to resolve the shareable revenue stalemate.
Addressing the press at his Karen Office on Tuesday in the company of eight County Governors, Ruto said Treasury was on the final process of releasing the cash.
However, he said suppliers whose payments have been flagged as ineligible by the Auditor General will have their issues heard and addressed by a special appeal committee in every county.
The Deputy President said the development was in tandem with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on Madaraka Day that called for national and county governments to honour their obligations before the end of June.
The meeting was attended by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Auditor General Edward Ouko, Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Governors Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Samwel Tunai (Narok), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia).
Also in attendance were Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) Chair Jane Kiringai, Deputy Governors Joash Maangi (Kisii) and Titus Ntuchiu (Meru).
Rotich said: “We plan to release the funds by the end of the month. We are fairly done with the process.”
The meeting further agreed to discuss the collapsed talks between the National Assembly and the Senate for shareable revenues to counties next Monday.
“Legally, we have to start afresh. However, we have taken the initiative to progress under the guidance of the Deputy President,” said Oparanya, who added that counties are under pressure to finalize their budgets by the end of the month.
The meeting on Monday will also be attended by Speakers of both Houses and the Parliamentary leadership.
He exuded optimism that an agreement on the division of revenue will be reached in the next week’s engagement.
“We appreciate the fact that counties are under pressure to finalise on their budgets. We therefore look forward to taking the shortest time possible to make devolved units’ operations run without any hiccups,” added Ruto.
He lauded the leaders for working together in ensuring that the sticky issue of outstanding bills is ironed out.
“Every arm of government will sort out these bills to alleviate challenges contractors and suppliers have been facing,” he told the meeting.
The pending bills committee will look at the contentious Sh37 billion that the Auditor General flagged out.
Oparanya said the report on county assets and liabilities was ready, arguing that the ministry of lands will provide expertise on land owned by counties, and their approximate worth. The exercise, he said, would be supervised by the ministry of devolution.
The two Houses have failed to agree on the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 with Senators pushing for Sh335 billion against Sh310 billion proposed by their National Assembly counterparts.
The figure by the Senate has been supported by the Council of Governors and the Commission on Revenue Allocation on the increased allocation. However, Members of Parliament endorsed figures provided by the Treasury.