Persistent delays by the national government to release monies allocated to the county governments from the National treasury are crippling the operations and actualization of development projects in the counties across the country.
The Busia county governor Sospeter Ojaamong says the day to day operations of the county governments were extremely hampered and strained financially as they had no money to execute their duties in serving members of the public or worse still paying out monies owed by the county government to members of the public.
Mr. Ojaamong says: “We are very badly hit by this state of affairs because without money in our county treasuries our desire and determination to give excellent efficient service to the members of the public is badly compromised including actualization or completion of our major public development projects.”
“That is because the national treasury does not effectively and efficiently release in good time the monies allocated to us to actualize our day to day operations and pay our contractors to complete many of our development projects within the required official time frames,” he added.
The governor was fielding questions from journalists outside the Busia County Assembly after officially opening the county’s second assembly accompanied by his deputy Moses Mulomi and the Assembly Speaker Bernard Wamalwa among other county dignitaries.
During the official county assembly opening cession he gave out a detailed report on the achievements of his government during its first year term and what he was planning to do in the next five years of his second term.
He says that to keep going the county government and assembly were forced to eke out basic operational monies from some of the locally collected revenues otherwise their operations would be completely and totally crippled.
Mr. Ojaamong says: “At this very moment as I am speaking we have not received a single cent in revenue allocations from the national treasury since July, but we are under constant pressure from members of the public to deliver effective and efficient services right from the county level through the sub-counties, the wards to the sub-locations.”
He says that also worst hit by these perennial days were major projects that were critical to the county’s development, especially infrastructure development involving a huge network of roads right from the county headquarters to all corners of the county’s seven sub-counties.
He says that Busia county government alone had in its first term rolled out a roads rehabilitation, re-construction and construction involving a vast network of more than 1, 600 kilometres across the county and some within the county headquarters, but whereas some have been completed many others have stalled because of the national treasury delays.
The end result is the fact that many contractors involved in the construction works not only of the roads but also buildings in public institutions across the country have been forced to sit and wait for the monies to come to the county treasuries before it can be disbursed to them to continue.
Some of the consequences are that the projects under construction are left at the mercy of the vagaries of Mother Nature depreciating them mercilessly and in the process shooting up the total costs involved in the construction of the projects.
At the same time it mercilessly whittles down the investor confidence of doing business with counties especially when their payments are not disbursed in real-time to ensure that they also meet their set deadlines.
“Am therefore appealing to the national government to urgently address this thorny problem by expediting the immediate release of the funds that are critical to our operations and the implementation of many development projects many of which we are yet to complete and many others waiting in the pipeline,” says Mr. Ojaamong.
Some of the development projects that he was talking about he had just given a detailed overview of what his county government has achieved over the last five years and was planning to roll out in the coming five years of his second term in office.
They include a wide a range of road construction works across the county including up-grading some to bitumen and others all weather, water supplies, health facilities, medical supplies and personnel, Agricultural development, security, cooperatives, educational infrastructure and personnel.
The others are provision of high power security lights through major market centres in the county, development of the fisheries, livestock and poultry, trade and cooperatives, youth development, the elderly, those with disabilities, and women empowerment, sanitation, environment, sports, talent, security and urban development among many others.
For the first time since its establishment in the colonial days Busia town which been the headquarters of the area since before independence this year started getting its streets tarmacked after decades of total dereliction and collapse.