MPs term Uhuru’s Sh50b promise to Senate illegal
Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
Members of the National Assembly yesterday maintained that the Sh53 billion that President Uhuru Kenyatta promised the Senate in order to unlock the stalemate surrounding the revenue sharing formula was unlawful.
In a move that could open another battle front between the two Houses, the MPs who began debating the formulae yesterday supported recommendations of the Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega that the Sh50 billion which raised the shareable revenue to Sh370 billion was just a political agreement that will not inform the decisions of the National Assembly.
While threatening to reject the proposals, the MPs said such agreements can only be binding if it was in writing and bearing the president’s seal.
Led by Kega, the MPs were categorical that the National Assembly will only be guided by available resources and national interests among other factors when deciding on the vertical sharing of revenue between the two levels of government.
“The issue of the quantum figure estimated at Sh 370 billion does not have the force of the law,” reads the BAC report.
It comes after Uhuru pledged to raise next year’s county shareable revenue by Sh50 billion, saying the additional funds will go towards strengthening devolution in the country, a move that saw senators supporting the formulae.
“The Sh370 billion allocated for the financial year 2020/21 to 2024/25 was political and not scientific.
It was further observed that the senate are relying on a promissory note, the additional Sh53 billion depends on the country’s economic performances,” adds the report in part.
In the report tabled before the house yesterday morning to inform members debate, the Kega committee said that in calculating the indexes attached to the parameters , there is need to use the current data as provided for 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Budget and Household Statistics (KIHBS) and 2019 population-census and any other data that is provided by government authorities.
Although the committee asked the house to approve the report, it also raised concerns that the parameters used by the senate were not exhaustive as they do not include services such as water
In addition, the committee said that other parameters such as most recent data, accuracy and other factors such as fisheries should also have been considered so as to promote equity.
The committee also said that clear timelines on when the revenue sharing formula should be implemented to avoid the delays that were in the senate as it took senators months for them to approve it.
“The Marginalisation Policy must be fast-racked including the guidelines so as to ensure that the envisaged benefits of the article 204 of the constitution can be achieved and in future the parameters should be expounded to allow inclusion of other factors..” adds the report.
Immediately Kega was done with moving the report MPs who contributed to the formulae including John Mbadi (Leader of Minority), Aden Duale (GarrissaTownship), Yusuf Adan Haji (Mandera West), Robert Mbui (Kathiani), Gladys Wanga( Homabay County) Joseph Limo (Kiplelion East) accused the senate of delaying passing the formula without having any valid reasons.
Mbadi said that the senate simply copy and pasted the recommendations of CRA and lied to Kenyans that they were considering the proposals.
According to him, whatever senate did is a clear demonstration of negligence of duty and incompetence.
“What the senate did to us just to copy paste the CRA formula. There is nothing wrong with the senate agreeing with the work of CRA, but why did they take this long with the report.
We must tell the senate that they put the country to panic by doing absolutely nothing to the formula,” he said.
Duale also said that the amount increased to Sh370 billion is legal as it has no legal backing.
“The amount that has been increased to Sh370 billion is illegal. If the president makes a decision he must put in writing with his seal.
Unless the president gives us a letter with a seal that figure is a political figure.
As the National Assembly, we will be dealing with the Sh 316b that we passed in the Division of Revenue Bill.”
Wanga accused the senators of failing to consider all parameters such as water when coming up with the revenue formulae.
Mbui who also took issue with the Sh 370 billion saying only the National Assembly has powers to share revenue between the two levels of government, accused the senators of being guided by their own personal interests instead of being cognizant of Kenyans needs.
Limo termed the formulae as controversial saying the Sh 370 billion was only a political agreement and is not in any way binding.