Mediation Committee on County Governments Grants meets stakeholders to break impasse
NAIROBI, 22 March - The Mediation Committee on the County Governments Grants Bill today met key stakeholders to deliberate on the contents of the Bill and end the stalemate that has so far locked out KES 39 bn in grants and loans from national government and development partners to the counties.
The Bill was published and passed by the Senate and transmitted to the National Assembly for concurrence. The National Assembly considered and passed the County Governments Grants Bill with amendments on 2nd December, 2021 which were subsequently rejected by the Senate.
The amendments to the Bill by the National Assembly would make it a perpetual law contrary to the Senate’s position that the Bill be considered and passed annually.
Led by co-chairs Sen Charles Kibiru and Hon Kanini Kega the committee received a harmonized stakeholder memorandum presented by the CS Treasury, Hon Amb Ukur Yatani, that presented consolidated views of the National Treasury, Controller of Budget and the Commission on Revenue Allocation who support the National Assembly’s view of making the Bill perpetual.
Sen Farhiya Ali noted that the passage of the Bill as proposed by the Assembly would be retrogressive.
“If the Bill is passed with the proposed amendments by the National Assembly it will claw back on devolution as it will impede the crucial oversight and accountability mechanisms that an annual Bill provides,” Sen Farhiya remarked.
The Chair of the Finance Committee at the Council of Governors, Gov Ndiritu Muriithi was of the view that including a schedule of grants in the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) as proposed by the National Assembly wouldn't solve the original problem.
“I’d plead with the National Assembly to take the Senate and CoG view to solve the issue and allow disbursement of grants that come midstream without going back to the BPS,” said Gov Ndiritu.
The County Governments Grants Bill provides a legal framework for the release of grants and donor funds to the devolved units by the National Treasury.