Financial Accountability in the Counties
Reports of graft dominated news coverage in the months of November with key figures in the NYS debacle appearing before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee and rampant rot being exposed within the Ministry of Health. Many other counties including Nyandarua, Baringo, Murang’a and Kilifi Counties were on the spot over misuse of funds in the month of November. The month also saw reports of counties failing to meet their local revenue collection for the financial year 2015-2016.
In addition, Kenya Bureau of Statistics report indicated that small and medium sized organizations that account for about a third of the counties GDP are hardly supported. The sector is a major employer absorbing some 14.9 million people. What is disappointing is that this sector is hardly supported by bank financing, which accounts for only 5.6% of the sources of funds for the businesses. As though that was not bad enough, the state funding for the sector is a paltry 0.1%.
Annual Devolution Conference
The urban agenda has gained considerable attention in the devolution process as envisaged in the 3rd devolution conference’s programme in which a session on urbanization was dedicated. The theme was Sustainable urbanization for transformative development Objective: To examine how inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable the urban space has become in Counties since the inception of devolution and how the urban space can be an engine for socio-economic growth.
Gender Mainstreaming and Human Rights Issues
A Bill to entrench two-thirds gender rule set to balance the composition of elective offices in Kenya so as to ensure there is equity in the government was rejected by MPs despite spirited lobbying by women parliamentarians. The situation now means compliance with Articles 27(8) and 81(b) of the constitution remains a mirage.
The Government appointed new Land Boards for 16 counties after they were disbanded over claims of irregularities, laxity and corruption. The new members were appointed to serve for a period of three years. The County Commissioners in these counties were instructed to ensure the boards were functional.
Policy, Legislation and Practice
Several key policies and legislation were reviewed and adopted during this time, including the Draft National Land Use Policy (NLUP) and the Draft National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy (NSUPP). The handing over ceremony of Kibera Soweto East Zone A housing project was successfully conducted as scheduled on Friday 8th July 2016.
Donor Investment Opportunities, Shifting Priorities; Social Entrepreneurship
It was noted that Development Partners are now shifting their interest to projects that lean towards entrepreneurship.
- The World Bank’s private sector arm plans to increase the level of its investments in Africa in order to promote entrepreneurship
- Finance Corporation (IFC) Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Cheikh Oumar Seydi told Xinhua in Nairobi that IFC is only constrained by the number of opportunities that are available in Africa.
- Department for International Development (DFID) are also leaning more towards social entrepreneurship