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Council staff assured of county jobs

JobsThe Transitional Authority in Kenya which was managing the transition to a devolved system of governance from the earlier central system has assured more than 33,000 local government employees of their jobs.

The Transitional Authority was asking the government to review the County Government Act, the Public Finance Management Act and the Transitional Authority Act to ensure that all the workers in the 175 local authorities are absorbed by the county governments.

The Transitional Authority Chairman, Kinuthia Wamwangi, told the Budget Committee of Parliament on Thursday that there had earlier been a certain uncertainty about the employees of the local authorities. But, he has given an assurance that they will automatically become the first employees of the county governments.

The authority had requested Parliament for the urgent release of KSh.1.2 billion for setting up structures to make sure that officials of the devolved units perform their duties soon after they are elected.

Mr Wamwangi said the shortfall in the budget could paralyse public services after the March 4 General Election. He further said that they had a deficit of KSh.1.2 billion in their operational budget and unless they had the money urgently to do things as per their work plan, a smooth transition was difficult.

He told the committee which was chaired by Maragua MP Elias Mbau that the authority had only received KSh. 400 million. The Treasury had originally allocated KSh. 250 million but had later revised this to KSh. 400 million.

The Transitional Authority’s mandate is to ensure a smooth transfer of power, share functions, assets, and liabilities between national and county governments after the polls. The Treasury has set aside KSh. 148 billion for devolved functions, but it is not clear how much of this will go to the authority or will be spent in salaries or service provision by the 47 county administrations.

During a meeting with the team at Parliament Buildings, Mr Mbau said that that the Treasury was holding back the work of the transitional authority. Mr Wamwangi said that the money was needed for the implementation of the first phase of its work which involved providing facilities to help governors, their executive teams, county assembly speakers, and members to execute their duties once they were elected.

Mr Wamwangi said they needed the money urgently through the Supplementary Budget before the House was dissolved. The Budget committee asked the authority to present its request to the Treasury. Mr Mbau also asked the authority to present its budget estimates for the period from March 2013 to June 2013 when the new administrations will be in operation, for consideration by both the Parliament and the Treasury.

The Treasury and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) was liaising with the committee and the authority to prepare a budget for the counties for the period March-June 2013. Mr Mbau said that the Parliament would approve the additional expenditure if the need arises.

Finance minister Njeru Githae is scheduled to appear before the committee next week to explain how counties would function over the four months.

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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