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Kitui employees miss July salaries over budget stalemate

Kitui County Government workers will miss July salaries following the 2020/2021 budget impasse between the County Assembly and the Executive.

The Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Chair Boniface Kilaa told the employees to brace for hard times ahead as the county had no monies owing to the budget crisis.

Addressing the press on Thursday evening outside the Assembly Chambers, Kilaa said that the County Finance Executive had failed to submit the Kitui County Appropriation Bill 2020/2021 thirty days since the House unanimously approved the budget estimates on June 30, 2020.

The Public Finance Management Act, 2012 requires the CECM for Finance to submit the Appropriation Bill within a period of seven days after the passage of budget estimates but that has not been the case.

“Instead County Minister submitted a memorandum of objection to the resolutions adopted by the House on the budget estimates on July 1, 2020 and a letter requesting a resolution on vote on account on the estimates,” he said.

Kilaa noted that cognizant of the inconveniences occasioned by the budget stand-off and delayed disbursement of funds, the Finance Executive ought to submit to the Assembly the Appropriation Bill within seven days and in line with the duly approved budget estimates.

“Failure to do so, this House shall discuss the conduct of the Finance Executive,” he warned.

Majority leader Peter Kilonzo said that it was pre-mature for the County Executive to write a memorandum of objection and negotiation with the Controller of Budget thereby interfering with the budget making process.

“The Executive’s actions are detrimental to welfare of county staff and development in this County because it has paralyzed payment of salaries and provision of critical services like healthcare,” lamented the Athi Ward representative.

Last year, public service delivery suffered total paralysis after the County Government workforce again went on strike to protest against unpaid July and August salaries.

The aggrieved workers, who marched to the Governor’s office, accused her administration of failure to honor its part of the return-to-work deal and vowed to stay put until their dues were fully paid.

The employees, including nurses and clinical officers, vacated and locked up their work stations to protest the continued salary delays.

Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) Kitui Branch Secretary Benjamin Munyalo said they are tired of the cat and mouse games with the county government adding that they will not continue to work without salaries.

Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU)'s Kitui branch chairman Stephen Kitheka said the Ngilu led administration was non-committal about timely payment of employees’ salaries.

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