Thursday, 07 December 2023 12:31

REFLECTING ON PARTNERSHIPS AND CHARTING THE FUTURE OF DEVOLUTION

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The Council of Governors Resource Mobilization Committee on 29th November held a consultative meeting with Development partners at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi. The objective of the meeting was to take stock, address challenges, and draw strategies on how to better coordinate and support counties’ development agenda.

The meeting brought together key stakeholders, including chairs of the Legal and Intergovernmental Committee, H.E Mutula Kilonzo Jr, Chair of the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee, H.E Fernandes Barasa, Chair of the Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Committee H.E Cecily Mbarire and H.E James Orengo. Other County leaders include Deputy Governors of Kiambu and Nairobi city counties.

Speaking during the meeting H.E Cecily Mbarire noted that Kenya is a signatory to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and is well guided by the four Effective Development Principles (EDC) of Ownership of development priorities by the Government of Kenya; Focus on results; Transparency and Accountability to each other and Inclusive Development Partnerships. Acknowledging that devolution has reached its 10+ year mark, the Chair emphasized the importance of collective efforts in achieving effective development principles. “We are here to take stock of what we have been able to achieve together, cut out our priorities for the present, and renew commitments to governance, accountability, and transparency.” Said Governor Cecily Mbarire.

The Head of Development Cooperation European Union, Ms. Irene Giribaldi, shared strategic policy interventions that Counties and the Council could deploy for enhanced efficiency, timeliness, and accountability. This included drawing inspiration from successful models in other jurisdictions.  Speaking on behalf of the CoG Chairperson, the CoG Whip Governor Stephen Sang’, emphasized the commitment of the Council to efficiently and effectively implement joint programs, remain accountable for allocated resources, and monitor Development Partners' programs to ensure impact at the grassroots.

A critical aspect discussed was the financial support from Development Partners. The Finance and Economic Affairs Committee Chair, H.E Fernandes Barasa, delved into the challenges faced by County governments in funds flow, including late passage of critical laws and inconsistent funds flow frameworks. The call for a holistic review of the conditional grants funds flow framework was made, with a plea for alignment with the County Governments' budget calendar.

“We have scenarios where funds are sometimes disbursed directly from the National Treasury and others through the line ministries creating unnecessary delays. Further, some development programs by Counties and development partners are not aligned with the budget cycle. These need to be aligned to the budget calendar for seamless flow of funds.” Said Governor Barasa.

The emerging issues related to bureaucratic red tape and amendments to the PFM Act, 2012, were highlighted. The Council of Governors urged the Development Partners to align with the County Governments' budget calendar, review the conditional grants funds flow framework, and provide direct support to the Council of Governors Committees.

Another significant discussion centered around the engagement structures for development cooperation. The importance of involving County Governments in program conceptualization and aligning them with the County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) was stressed. The non-operationalization of Sections 191A to 191E of the PFMA raised concerns, with proposed solutions including strengthening resource mobilization departments at the county level and direct engagements between Development Partners and County Governments.

Throughout the meeting, there was a recurring theme of collaboration and gratitude. Participants expressed their commitment to working together, learning from the past, and addressing challenges collectively. The Council of Governors extended their sincere thanks to Development Partners for their support over the past decade, emphasizing the impact on the lives of citizens across all 47 counties.

The collaboration between the Council of Governors and Development Partners remains a crucial aspect of this journey, paving the way for a more impactful and inclusive future.

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