MPs reject revenue sharing formula

Kenya: The sharing of national revenue among counties has been thrown into disarray after the Senate rejected a proposed formula by Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) and the House Finance Committee.

Senators rejected the second proposed formula arguing it did not address social parametres including health, agriculture and development.

The report tabled by committee chair Billow Kerrow (Mandera) was defeated 13 to 11 with those opposing the criteria citing lack of consultation and discrimination of some regions.

The Constitution requires that once every five years, the Senate shall by resolution, determine the basis for allocating among the counties the share of national revenue that is annually allocated to the county level of government.

Yesterday, Senators Gideon Moi (Baringo), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet ), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo), Juma Boy (Kwale), Hassan Omar (Mombasa) and David Musila (Kitui) opposed the formula, saying it will shortchange some counties.

“This formula does not address social concerns like health, agriculture and livestock among others affect people at the grassroots, especially in Baringo County,” said Moi.

“CRA should have developed a more equitable formula that considers safeguarding sectors such as health, water and irrigation, like they do in South Africa," said Murkomen.

The debate turned into a heated argument when Kerrow in his submission, supported by Minority Leader Moses Wetang'ula (Bungoma) accused those opposing the criteria of being dishonest as both his committee and that of devolution had agreed to support the report.

“CRA called a joint meeting (last year) for both the Committee of Devolution and Finance and we left Naivasha with a resolution to adopt the formula. In fact, I am surprised to see the devolution chairman champion now opposing position. I am surprised that we are here engaging in polemics and grand standing,” said Wetang'ula.

But Murkomen rebuffed: “The minority leader is misleading this House, we went to Naivasha not to agree with CRA but to listen to their views.”

Senator Kuti on his part, opposed the formula claiming it reinforced the historical injustices of inequality in resource allocation.

“This criteria promotes the old system of pushing resources to those who already have and denying those who do not have. All counties should share 50 per cent of the revenue equally then the remaining 50 per cent should be subjected to the criteria of population,” said Kuti.