Navigating the fiscal space in county governments – By Stephen Oinga

While delivering an opening remark at the Third NWBC FCPA. Ahmed Abdullahi, Vice Chairperson, Council of Governors, set a tone of urgency and collaboration on matters revolving around the wage bill.

Governor Abdullahi, representing the 47 county governments, highlighted the significant fiscal challenges that county governments face, particularly in the health sector.

“The two levels of government gathered here today have a responsibility to ensure public services are delivered equitably, prudently, and sustainably,” he added.

Abdullahi also pointed out that the expanding wage bill continues to threaten the fiscal sustainability of counties, with many spending more than the recommended 35 per cent of their revenue on remuneration.

This situation, he claimed, is worsened by the duplication of roles between the national and county governments, which inflates the overall wage bill.

Governor Abdullahi also underscored the impact of devolution on improving public services. He reported that since 2013, the number of health facilities and personnel in counties has significantly increased. However, this progress, he said, comes with a financial burden that is not matched by proportional increases in revenue.

Governor Abdullahi concluded with a call to action: “As we stand on the brink of a new era, let us seize this moment to be honest and transparent in our deliberations. Our goal is to formulate a policy framework that promotes an equitable, competitive, and sustainable wage bill in Kenya.”

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