In a statement released on Thursday, January 14, 2021, Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani shed light on the delay citing economic adversities due to the Covid-19 pandemic as a key reason.
“The National Treasury and Planning wishes to confirm that it has so far transferred a total of Ksh133 billion to county governments for the Financial Year 2020/21,” Yatani stated.
The CS stated that of the total transfers, Ksh120.2 billion was disbursed as part of the Equitable Share due to county governments and Ksh13 billion as Conditional Grants.
In the statement, Yatani noted that the National treasury is behind on disbursement of funds to the counties by two months.
“Nonetheless, the National Treasury notes that as at January 13, 2021, the balance of county governments at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) stands at Ksh34.6 billion and appeal to them to make the full use of these funds in the meantime, as further disbursements from the exchequer are made in due course,” Yatani stated.
He assured that with the scrapping of the Covid-19 tax reliefs and the National Treasury expecting an improvement in revenue collection from the current quarter, he will prioritise the disbursement of funds to county governments to clear the arrears.
The move by Yatani comes after governors accused the National Treasury of frustrating the administration of counties by withholding funds.
In a letter addressed to the Treasury on January 11, the governors threatened to shut down operations in the devolved units and send employees home to end their sufferings.
“Please note that if the disbursement is not made forthwith, the county governments will have no option other than to seek legal redress while closing down to minimize further damage and suffering to employees,” the letter read in part.
Council of Governors Chairperson Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, stated that counties had not received disbursements from the Treasury for up to five months.
“We note with utmost concern that County Governments have not received disbursements for October, November, December 2020 and January 2021,” Oparanya stated.
The governors had argued that the delay in disbursement of funds was hindering service delivery, especially when the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic and the striking health workers’ crisis.
Pastor Rebukes Uhuru Over Daily Ksh2B Theft
In the Sunday January 2, sermon, the pastor took issue with the Head of State’s admission that Ksh2 billion was lost through corruption every day.
He argued that the Head of State had enough agencies at his disposal to ensure no money is lost, which made his public admission shocking.
“Mr President, thank you for the confession that we are all thieves minus the opportunities. Mr President, you have the EACC (Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission), DPP (Directorate of Public Prosecutions), NIS (National Intelligence Service) and every government mercenary at your disposal.
“Either the government knows who steals Kenyans’ money, or the government is part of the stealing,” stated Wainaina.
“What are you telling Kenyans when you confess such, that you are defeated? Who will then save this country when the president can’t?” he questioned.
The Reverend further pointed out that the theft had become perpetual with the findings of KEMSA probe he (Uhuru) had ordered yet to be made public.
“Up to now, Kemsa report is not out even after the President gave the ultimatum. Either the government knows the thieves or they are a part of the scheme.
“No wonder, everybody these days wants to be a politician. The moment they are elected, the first thing they ask is, ‘what is there for me,'” he continued.
He further noted that Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) would not solve problems, but was aimed at enriching a few individuals even as corruption continues to fuel the hustler narrative.
Speaking on Monday, January 18, Uhuru defended government spending on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), noting that over Ksh2bn was being misappropriated daily.
“These people should not mislead the public that Ksh2billion will be spent, yet what they steal every day is more than Ksh2 billion. These people are useless, and I will say it openly, how much do they spend every year?” stated Uhuru.
The President was speaking in a radio interview that aired on Inooro, Kameme, and Gukena stations.
Below is the video of Pastor Wainaina:
19,000 Motorists Wade Through Mombasa-Mariakani Traffic
According to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the single-lane highway would witness traffic snarl-ups that lasted for hours on end.
However, the situation has turned worse with long stretches of the road under construction since 2015, and yet to be tarmacked.
According to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) carried out by KeNHA, vehicle speed averages between 10-30km/hr across the road corridor.
During peak hours, it takes an average of 3-6hrs to traverse a distance of 16km from Miritini into the city centre.
To cap it off, the pollution in form of dust being kicked up by the thousands of vehicles forced to go off-road at various sections of the highway is unprecedented.
The dualling of the major road has been riddled with problems from its early days. In 2015, KeNHA ordered the contractor to close a diversion and construct it to required standards as it proved impassable during the rainy season.
At the time, hundreds of travellers, including tourists and truck drivers, spent the night in the cold and blamed the contractor for doing a shoddy job.
The project road is approximately 41km and forms part of the 500 km Mombasa-Nairobi highway that also constitutes part of the Northern Corridor linking the Kenyan Coast with the neighbouring countries of Uganda, Sudan and Rwanda.
It runs in a northerly direction through Changamwe, Miritini and Mazeras before terminating shortly after Mariakani Weighbridge.
The major road is faced with the challenge of a rapid increase in traffic volumes including light vehicles and heavy trucks over the years.
It is now being expanded to a six-lane highway and is largely expected to help decongest the city once completed.
Kenyan Businessmen Pour Ksh81B Into Govt Project
According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the government was initially targeting Ksh50 billion.
However, once the bonds were made available, there was an overwhelming number of bids totalling Ksh125 billion, of which Ksh81 billion was accepted.
This is in line with the recent trend in which the country has witnessed a high investor appetite for government securities.
The minimum amount to invest was tagged at Ksh 100,000 with interest payable every six months.
Infrastructural bonds have proven to be very attractive for investors given they are tax-free as provided for under the Income Tax Act.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee administration has a long list of infrastructure projects that it had planned to execute during the 2019/2020 financial year.
This is the second infrastructure paper being sold in the current fiscal year, following the Ksh70 billion, 11-year bond that was floated in August. It attracted bids worth Kshh102 billion, with the government taking up Ksh78.56 billion.
They included the Ksh55.8 Billion Naivasha – Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, the affordable housing plan, and the Ksh55.8 billion Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia (LAPSSET) transport corridor, considered Eastern Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project, among others.
Kenya has successfully issued Infrastructure Bonds since 2009 when the first Bond was issued to Ksh18.5bn to fund specific projects in Transport, Energy, Water, and Irrigation Sectors.