The delay by the National Treasury to release funds to the counties continues to hamper operations in the regional governments nearly five months after the start of the financial year.
Most governors are currently only providing essential services, with others resorting to more borrowing to meet their basic obligations.
For instance, the county bosses have been unable to pay workers and contractors or buy essential drugs for local hospitals and dispensaries nearly four months after they were sworn in.
Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has asked the national government to release funds to counties before Christmas to enable them to pay debts.
“The situation is bad, we are only doing the most basic things, nothing else. I hope the situation will change soon,” Mr Njuki said Wednesday.
He went on: “I got pending bills amounting to Sh1 billion to various contractors from my predecessor. I don’t know where that money will come from. I will seek help from the senate,” he added.
The governor added that Tharaka-Nithi owes Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) Sh39 million.
“I had to sweet talk Kemsa so that they can continue to supply medicines to the hospitals because people cannot die just because the national government has not released funds. We have resorted to more borrowing,” Njuki said.
Kitui County finance executive Mary Nguli Wednesday acknowledged that they received Sh605 million from the National Treasury two weeks ago — the first tranche since Governor Charity Ngilu assumed office to support development projects.
Acting director of Inter-Governmental Fiscal Relations at the National Treasury, Albert Mwende, said all counties are being supported as required by law.
Council of Governors chairman Josephat Nanok last month, in a letter addressed to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, said counties could not meet their obligations due to the delay in releasing the funds.
“The purpose of this letter is therefore to inform you that legally, the National Treasury is under obligation to release all monies accrued for the past four months to the county governments.