Turkana County Assembly approves 667 million to combat Covid-19 pandemic

Speaker of the county assembly Erastus Lokaale addressing the media on Monday April 20, 2020

The Turkana County Assembly has approved the supplementary budget, which allocated Sh667.6 million towards Covid- 19 emergency response.

Speaker Erastus Lokaale on Monday told journalists that he has forwarded the Appropriation Bill to the Governor for assent.

He said the funds had specifically been allocated to the dockets of Water, Health, Public Service and Disaster management.

The public service and disaster management docket would receive the lion’s share of Sh 441, 231,000 to provide relief food to the vulnerable people.

“We made this decision because the majority of our people are poor so we needed to cushion them during this crisis,” said Lokaale.

The ministry of health was allocated Sh159,335,600 while the ministry of water was allocated Sh 67 million.

The Speaker said funds for health docket would be used to purchase essential commodities like facemasks and completion of the Lodwar County referral hospital Intensive Care Unit as well as the purchase of ventilators and other equipment.

Water was also identified as a key component and the funds would be used to enhance hygiene standards by ensuring boreholes are working and for water tankering in areas without water.

To ensure accountability, the County Assembly of Turkana has formed an adhoc committee to oversight the utilisation of funds meant to address the Covid- 19 pandemic.

Lokaale said that the committee is keen to ensure that funds meant to fight the pandemic are not embezzled.

“We understand that in times of crisis like these, people can use the opportunity to do funny things that is why we are very keen to ensure funds are utilised to help the wananchi as intended,” said Lokaale.

The ad-hoc committee which he leads comprises deputy speaker Mike Ewoi, Leader of Majority Bethwel Kobongin, Leader of Minority Benedict Lokamar and Katilu MCA James Abei. 

Governor Josphat Nanok last week said his government has come up with a raft of measures to protect the most affected by the coronavirus crisis.

He said that the County Treasury will waive a total of Sh40.7m from agricultural produce cess, water distribution and drilling services, health sector fees, educational institutions, liquor licensing, market fees and single business permits for salons, barber shops and restaurant and entertainment facilities that is contained in the Turkana County Finance Amendment Bill 2020 as an additional measure to address COVID-19. 

The Governor has also directed a tax exemption on market collection fees in the months of April, May and June to cushion the citizens, both traders and household water users from the loss arising from COVID-19.

Governor Nanok who was addressing the media accompanied by other County leaders at the new County Hq complex said that the County will clear eligible pending bills worth Sh90 million within one month to “improve liquidity and ensure businesses remain operational.”