The Government today evening played hardball on the stalemate on the division of revenue that has starved county government off funds.
In what appears to be the final blow to the governor’s quest to have the counties receive extra funds, President Uhuru Kenyatta ruled out such a move saying “the government has no money.”
Commenting for the first time on the issue that is already in the Supreme Court, the President told off governors and senators for demanding additional allocation “at a time when there no funds to support such increment.”
“I want to tell the governors and those agitating for the increase of allocation to counties that they should work with what they have. That is all that is there. The government does not print money, we have to work with what we have,” the Head of State said with finality.
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Speaking in Gatanga on Thursday, Uhuru chided elected leaders telling them if they wanted the allocation to be increased They “should pass legislation to reduce their salaries to cater for the same.”
“I’m telling these elected leaders that if you want you can first reduce your salaries and benefits and we will get money to increase the allocations. But at the moment what we have allocated is what is realistically available,” the President said.
The President message is likely to jolt governors and senators who have been fighting for the increase of the allocation from Sh316 billion to Sh335 billion
President Uhuru Kenyatta has ruled on the governors push to increase budget allocation for county governments.
The president said the governors’ quest to have counties allocation increased from Sh310 billion to Sh335 billion is impractical.
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“We do not have that kind of money the governors are asking for. You cannot reap where you did not plant. It is not possible,” said the president.
He spoke during the funeral ceremony for Rahab Wambui Muhuni, mother to the former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth at Kirwara Boys High School in Murang’a County.
Mr Kenyatta added that as much as devolution is working and counties need resources for effective running the proposed increment is unpractical.
The 47 county bosses led by their council’s chairman Wycliffe Oparanya had faulted the government’s proposal to cut allocation to counties arguing that it would affect devolution and disable operations of the county governments.
“We want counties to operate effectively but we have allocated what we can afford. Where will we get all that they are asking for? These people are joking. Use what you have first,” he added.
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A week ago, governors, senators and MCAs moved to court to seek intervention on impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 after the parliament failed to pass it arguing that it would starve counties of the cash.
Kenyatta instead urged the governors to increase counties’ revenues as to add to the national revenue basket if they wanted they county funds increased.
“You cannot eat what you do not have. Make money first before asking for more. We do not have a money minting factory in this country. You will have to work to get the money you want.”
The president noted that adding the allocation as suggested by the county boss would mean forgoing other projects.
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“If the national assembly sees it okay to add allocation for counties, let them reduce their salaries or cut allocations for other projects. The government does not have that money,” added the president.
Kenyatta said he would not relent on fighting corruption and recover stolen taxpayers money so as to ensure more funds goes to development projects in the national and county governments.
The head of state mentioned that his government would not relent in fighting graft which he said has crippled development in the country.
“Let’s fight corruption so that the taxpayers’ money does not end up pockets of a few individuals. We are losing a lot of money to corruption yet it should be used to build roads and construct hospitals for Kenyans,” he added.
The governors had argued that the spirit of devolution would be killed by the decision to cut county funds.
“I am urging the governors and the senators to stop these stories on allocations and concentrate on how we can fight corruption and add to revenue basket,” he added.
The governors had proposed that the counties should at least get Sh327 and not the proposed Sh310 billion by the national assembly.
The governor had opposed the cut arguing that there was no need to reduce the budget from Sh316 billion in the last year’s budget to Sh310 billion as an equitable share for counties maintaining that the devolved units have at least Sh327 if there had to be a cut.
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President Uhuru KenyattaPeter KennethCounties revenueGovernorsOparanya
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