President Uhuru Kenyatta outlined the big four agenda as a way of leaving a legacy at the end of his term. Universal Healthcare, Affordable Housing, Food Security and Manufacturing are his big four. But do you think all these will be achieved within the available time frame? Well, Governors have warned that reduction of allocations to counties by Sh9 billion will affect service delivery.
Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and governors Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia) and Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) accused the Jubilee administration of sidelining them in the implementation of the Big Four agenda.
They told the Senate Finance and Budget Committee that President Uhuru Kenyatta had sidelined them in the rollout of his key development agenda on food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing.
“This so called Big Four agenda is alien to us because we were never consulted or involved in it anyway,” said Mr Oparanya, who is also the Kakamega governor.
Most of the Big Four agenda items fall under shared functions, with policy formulation left to the national government while execution and implementation falls under the county governments. Oparanya, who made submissions on behalf of the CoG on the 2019 Budget Policy Statement, said counties had been kept in the dark on the plans.
“This could be a scheme to revert to the national government some of the devolved functions,” claimed Oparanya.“Housing and health are devolved. This could be one way of taking over county functions through the back door.”
Mr Muriithi, while commenting on the strike by nurses, said the health workers had no justification to down their tools, claiming that they were among the best paid staff in the sector.
“In the 17 cadres across the health sector, nurses are the best paid. Their payment is over two times better than their counterparts in the same scale in the civil service. Paying them more will have spiral effects that will be impossible to manage,” said Muriithi.
Mr Wangamati blamed the huge pending bills in counties on lack of capacity among staff.“We don’t have the capacity to budget and procure properly.
We need the support of the national government on this,” he said.CoG proposed to the committee that the national government, in the next financial year, raise the equitable share of revenue to Sh343.7 billion.