Thirteen counties have received Sh1.9 billion performance-based conditional grants under the Kenya Devolution Support Programme which is financed by the World Bank.
The launch of the Level II disbursement of the monies was done in Nairobi on Wednesday at an event presided over by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Council of Governors Vice-Chairperson Anne Waiguru.
In the Level I disbursement, all 47 counties qualified and received Sh2.1 billion for different projects.
Counties only access the funds after meeting certain targets.
Through the monies, the counties are expected to improve their human resource and performance management, intergovernmental relations as well as civic education and public participation.
Mr Wamalwa said other key areas targeted are public finance management and the planning, monitoring and evaluation of county development plans.
“I urge all counties to improve on their assessment so as to absorb the funds that have been set aside. We urge the qualifying county governments in the level two disbursement to channel the funds towards the Big Four Agenda,” the minister said, adding that the government will be strict on how funds from development partners are utilised by counties.
Busia County has the lion’s share of the performance-based funds at Sh553 million while Mandera got the least at Sh6 million.
Other top beneficiaries are Baringo (Sh173 million), Kiambu (Sh238 million), Makueni (Sh168 million), Kisii (Sh126 million), Nyandarua (Sh282 million), Laikipia (Sh111 million), Siaya (Sh103 million).
Garissa received (Sh11 million), Kajiado (Sh18 million), Kirinyaga (Sh74 million) and Narok (Sh81 million).
According to Ms Waiguru, the initiative has helped counties to improve their ability to plan and monitor the delivery of public services and to strengthen public financial management systems.
But she questioned disparities in the allocations to different counties based on the criteria used to select the beneficiaries.
“It is unfortunate that the other counties did not meet the criteria required and most of them were disqualified based on their audit reports.
“There is need, therefore, to relook at the project framework and the criteria for assessing counties. This is because if only 13 out of 47 counties benefit, it then defeats the purpose for which the programme was developed.
“The Council of Governors, therefore, proposes that audit opinion be moved from being a minimum performance condition to a performance score to ensure that counties are not disadvantaged in the next annual capacity performance and assessment review and disbursement of Financial Year 2018/19 Level II Funds,” Ms Waiguru said.