Population changes could tilt resources allocation formula

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 04:08 |
An enumerator collects data during the August census. PD/FILE

Some counties are expected to get a major boost in revenue allocations under the population parameter after preliminary results for last August census released yesterday.

 The results indicated that numbers of some devolved units had increased by up to 50 per cent in the last 10 years.

Kenya’s population rose from 37.7 million in 2009 to 47.6 million this year in the census results that were released yesterday by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) director general Zachary Mwangi at State House, Nairobi, in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Uhuru, in his speech yesterday, said the results would give his government a unique opportunity to realign its development strategies, policies and programmes, and asked all government organs to apply them while doing their plans. 

“Therefore, today, we do direct all ministries, departments and government agencies to utilise these results, and I also urge other arms of government-counties, stakeholders and also our development partners to make use of these results in their planning processes,” he said.   

Reap big

Under the current revenue sharing formula, which is being reviewed, population parameter as per figures recorded in 2009, covers 45 per cent, basic equal share covers (25 per cent), poverty (20 per cent), land area (eight per cent) and fiscal responsibility (two per cent), which is a win for the heavily populated counties.

Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has proposed a 20 per cent boost on the population parameter, therefore, heavily populated counties are expected to reap big, with the commission hoping to use the fresh results in the next financial year.  

Counties that recorded a huge increase in population are Nairobi where the numbers increased by 1.3 million to hit 4.4 million. In Kiambu, which is the second heavily populated county, the figure rose from 1.6 million to 2.4 million, reflecting a 50 per cent increase.

Nakuru and Murang’a counties had their population increase by an estimated 500,000 people to hit the 2.1 million mark, while most other counties had their numbers increase by between 200,000 and 400,000 people.

However, the outcome of the exercise will also see some counties in areas previous regarded as heavily populated get lesser funding under the population parameter after the results indicated otherwise.

Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, and Tharaka Nithi will be entitled to lesser funding compared to Mandera, Garrissa and Wajir counties, which were previously regarded as sparsely populated but recorded bigger populations in the recent census.

Get boost

Mandera now has a population of 867,451, Garrissa (841,353) and Wajir (781,263) while Nyeri has 759,169, Nyandarua (638,289), Kirinyaga (610,411) while Tharaka Nithi has 310,327 people.

“We fear that the census result may cause us (to) get lower funding because population gets the highest weight in revenue sharing. Nyeri now has few people than Garissa,” Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata lamented. 

The KNBS boss said the Sh18 billion census results were credible, with efficiency having been boosted by use of technology . Nairobi County, which was this year allocated Sh16.5 billion equitable share to serve its estimated 3.1 million people, will get a boost after KNBS indicated that its population now stands at 4.4 million people.

Out of the 16.5 billion, Sh7.42 billion was under the population parameter, and with the numbers having risen by half, the amount is set to increase.  

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi in 2016 sued the government over unfairness in the revenue allocation formula. He said Kiambu remains with less than Sh2 billion for development while some less populated counties get over Sh5 billion.

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