House to debate bill that unlocks cash for counties

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Cash. Photo/PD/Courtesy

The long wait by counties for the release of allocations from the exchequer is likely to come to an end this week if the National Assembly approves the Division of Revenue Bill’s Senate version tomorrow.

Members of the National Assembly will consider the Senate Amendments to the Division of the Revenue Bill, 2021. The bill allows the release of allocations to the counties.

Other reports to be considered are a report of the Budget and Appropriations Committee and the report of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research on the vetting of the nominees for appointment to the positions of chairperson and member of the Teachers Service Commission.

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MPs will also address the report of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research on the vetting of the nominee for the appointment to the position of Principal Secretary in the State Department for Implementation of Curriculum Reforms.

Also on the agenda is the debate on a Public Petition for the removal of Tabitha Mutemi from the membership of the Media Council of Kenya. The petition was tabled by the ICT committee before the House proceeded for a short recess.

The Senate unanimously passed the Division of Revenue Bill (DORB), 2021, with senators calling for control of wastage of public funds by counties.

Senators amended the bill to exclude the provision of conditional allocations. The move was aimed at claiming a stake to some additional Sh39.8 billion worth of conditional allocations to the counties.

This was in line with a recommendation by the Finance and Budget committee following a 2016 court ruling that found the inclusion of conditional allocations in the bill to be unlawful.

The amendment prompts the need to formulate a legal framework through which the Sh39.8 billion will be disbursed to the counties, given that such a framework does not currently exist in law.

The Division of Revenue Allocation Bill provides the framework through which the two levels of government share the Sh1.7 trillion revenue and its passage paves the way for the conclusion of the budgeting process.

In the next financial year, the 47 counties will get Sh370 billion, the highest allocation since the onset of devolution in 2013. The allocation is Sh53.5 billion increment of the previous year’s Sh316.5 billion.

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