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Is Meru County’s budget stalemate ending any soon?

By Harun Mugambi

The passage of Meru County’s 2024/2025 budget remains in limbo due to a prolonged standoff between the County Assembly and the Executive that has lasted for over two months.

The County Assembly is poised to pass the budget estimates this week, with the appropriation bill expected to follow in two weeks. This delay stems from a contentious Sh12.3 billion County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) 2024.

According to Meru County Assembly Finance Committee Chairman, Caleb Mutethia, the deadlock has significant financial implications to the county.

The MCA has remained firm on the allocation for each ward, insisting that every ward should receive Sh45 million.

“There is no discussion for that. We need Sh45 million, which is 30% to every ward,” he stated.

“During the campaign, she said she would allocate up to Sh100 million to counties, but what we are asking for is Sh45 million only, not Sh100 million.”

Mutethia highlighted the urgency of resolving the stalemate, pointing out that Meru is the only county yet to pass its budget.

“As the County Assembly, we have done our part. The clinical officers should not be on strike because revenue is being collected. It is important to say there should be no strike because the county revenue collected should service their demands,” he added.

On June 7th 2024 he had warned that “If a supplementary budget is not passed before the end of the financial year, the county risks losing close to Ksh600 million,” Mutethia explained that these funds would not be available in the next financial year if not committed now.

The budget standoff has left Meru residents in a state of uncertainty, stalling essential services and projects, including road infrastructure and public services.

The County Assembly on one end pushed for equitable ward allocation, conflicting with the Executive’s budget priorities, a battle that has amounted to a complex fiscal scenario.

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