Senate finally adopts revenue formula after deal brokered by President, Raila

Friday, September 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Senate Majority whip Irungu Kangata (centre) with senators John Kinyua (left) and Samson Cherargei address the media after the Senate resolved to pass the third generation revenue sharing formula. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka.

The Senate yesterday voted to pass the controversial revenue sharing formula after a deal brokered by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, which could see an additional Sh53 billion for counties in the next financial year.  

A total of 41 senators voted to approve the formula that will determine the basis for allocating revenue to the regional governments.

This marks the end of the stormy stalemate that has characterised the business of the House, since the matter came up for consideration on July 13.

The Senate endorsed the President’s pledge, in a vote that saw senators, who have been on warring camps close ranks after three months, characterised by 10 adjournments, aborted Kamukunjis, arrests, intimidation, bribery claims and blackmail.

The vote now sets the stage for unlocking of funds whose disbursement has been on hold for lack of a legal framework.

“This is a matter that has been canvassed for a long time, we need not to belabour the point,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said as he moved the motion.

Wetang’ula and Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja co-chaired the 12-member committee that came up with the agreeable formula.

“As committee of 12, I thank the House for giving us the opportunity. It has been a long protracted, winding, noisy and messy debate,” Wetang’ula continued.

“This House has risen to the billing of being a true defender of devolution,” he added reiterating that the protracted process has not been in vain since it had brought an additional Sh53 billion to the table.

Financial crisis

Giving his remarks, Minority leader James Orengo chided governors for shutting down their governments instead of exercising patience.

 “We have achieved 100 per cent consensus. I want to thank the President because we had gone for weeks without resolution. The authority and dignity of the Senate was being questioned,” he said.

He added: “This thing would have been so easy had governors sat on their own and agreed.

But they left it to the Senate and they did not want any senator going back to their counties saying they have lost even a shilling.” 

He said: “The governors were sitting with the President last year and this year too.

They didn’t get a single cent on top of what was allocated by the Treasury. Shame unto these governors.”

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen noted: “ In a small way, we have made our contribution towards keeping our nation together, through equitable distribution of resources among all counties. It was worth the fight. It’s a WIN-WIN.”

On Wednesday, the Council of Governors announced a partial shutdown of the 47 counties accusing the Senate of doing little to end the impasse.

In addition, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani had blamed the senators’ indecisiveness for the cash crisis that has crippled services in the counties.

In the adopted formula, it takes into account eight parameters: Basic share (20 per cent) population (18 per cent) health (17 per cent), agriculture (10 per cent), poverty level (14 per cent) and urban (five per cent), with roads and land at eight per cent each.

Nairobi, Nakuru, Kiambu and Turkana will get the lion’s share of Sh370 billion set to be allocated to the counties in the next financial year.

Nairobi County will get an additional Sh3.3 billion from the exchequer, to push its total allocation to Sh19.2 billion from the current Sh15.9 billion.

Nakuru’s share will balloon to Sh13 billion up from the current Sh10.4 billion while Kiambu will get an additional Sh2.2 billion to push its total allocation to Sh11.7 billion, while Turkana’s allocation will shoot to Sh12.6 billion from Sh10.5 billion.

Tharaka Nithi, Nyamira, Vihiga, Isiolo and Kwale will get least addition to their current allocations in the new formula that ensures no county loses revenue.

Tharaka Nithi will get additional Sh289.6 million to push its total allocation to Sh4.2 billion from the current Sh3.9 billion.

Nyamira will receive Sh324.5 million more, Vihiga will get an additional Sh414.8 million, Isiolo will get Sh469.2 million more while Kwale will receive an additional Sh479.6 million to push its total allocation to Sh8.2 billion from Sh7.7 billion.

Same allocations

The changes will take effect in 2021-2022 financial year after the senators voted to retain the old formula (one that has been used for the last five years) for the current financial year.

This implies that all the counties will get the same allocations as last year. The counties have been allocated Sh316.5 billion in the current year – the same amount they were allocated last year.

The Senate hit a deadlock following arguments by some counties that they will lose billions of shillings in revenue, especially in the Northern Frontier region, Coast and Ukambani.

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