Deputy President William Ruto has asked County Governments to involve the public in decision making for a smooth devolution process.
He said that allowing Kenyans to offer their opinions and concerns as counties enact relevant pieces of legislation will enhance acceptance among citizens, and avoid unnecessary public outcry.
Mr. Ruto maintained that citizen involvement in Public Finance Management will address the current challenges where people feel certain counties are passing outrageous laws on taxation.
The Deputy President said this while addressing the 2nd Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council meeting at the Kenya School of Government.
He said the Government was committed to ensuring that devolution succeeds.
“A central plank of the Jubilee’s Manifesto was the unequivocal commitment to Kenya that, in Government, we would fully implement the constitution both in letter and in spirit’’, he said.
The Deputy President chats with Trans-Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba at the Kenya School of Government during the 2nd Inter-Governmental Budget and Economic Council meeting. January 31, 2014
The Deputy President told the meeting that the Government had identified devolution as one of the key pillars upon which economic, social, political and infrastructural development of the country could be realized.
“Despite being in office for only nine months; the Jubilee Administration has already made significant strides in the realization and actualization of devolution; often going above and beyond the bare minimums set out under the implementation provisions of the constitution,’’ he said.
However, he added, for devolution to succeed, counties need to lay firm foundations.
The Deputy President noted that it was imperative for the devolved units to employ workers with the right skills and competencies.
“The Success of devolution will invariably be based on a firm foundation of a competent, well-motivated, skilled and well-trained workforce operating at the county government level,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the ministry of Devolution and the National Treasury had developed a framework for capacity building for staff working for county governments.
“The National Treasury is lending counties its expertise and experience which will greatly benefit the grassroots units in a manner that will not result in micromanagement by the National Government but one that conforms to the requirement of consultation in the Constitution.”
The Deputy President said the county government payroll will fully be under the authority and control of the respective counties- without the interference or action of the National Government starting February.
He pointed that ‘’notwithstanding the devolution of various functions, the national government had finalized a framework in order to distribute medical equipment for 92 hospitals from the national budget to the tune of Ksh 34 billion in a medical equipment leasing arrangement’’.
He stated that the Government will continue with the fertilizer subsidy programme to the tune of Ksh 2 billion while at the same time providing drought management support in excess of Ksh 2.5 billion.
The DP noted that this was one of the steps to address food security in the country.
At the same time, Mr Ruto asked the Senate to pass relevant legislation that enables the smooth working of the three arms of government.
“I challenge the Senate to fast-track the omnibus Miscellaneous Amendments to various laws and other pending Bills that will enhance devolution. The Government appreciates that Devolution will only succeed if all three arms of Government; but particularly the National Executive and the National Legislature, harmonize their functions, agenda and scope of work’’.