Reject Senate's proposals to increase allocation for Kenyan counties, team tells MPs

Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Mutava Musyimi

NAIROBI: The National Assembly's Budget and Appropriations Committee Thursday asked MPs to reject a proposal by the Senate to increase allocations to counties by Sh7.7 billion.

In a report tabled in the House, the committee advised MPs to delete the Senate's proposals from the Division of Revenue Bill, 2015.

"The committee recommends that this House does not concur with the proposed amendments by the Senate," said the committee in a report tabled by Chairman Mutava Musyimi (Mbeere South).

The committee is irked because the Senate did not raise any issues with the contents of the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) regarding the money to go to the counties, and therefore the senators ought to have known that there was no more money for the national government to 'give' the counties. The BPS is a forecast of what is in the resource envelope and how it will be used in the next financial year.

"The proposed increases results in additional expenditures which are unfunded and may result in widening the financing gap, and this will occasion further public debt," the committee said.

The Senate reduced the share of the national government by Sh1.8 billion and did not provide the source of the extra cash.

Funds duplication

The House committee also told off the Senate for the Sh4.4 billion allocation for emergencies in the counties – each county was to get Sh93.6 million. They said the move was illegal because the Public Finance Management Act was very explicit that each county had to set aside two per cent of their budgets to deal with it.

"These funds may already be in existence in the respective county treasuries and thus it will be a duplication of funds," the committee said.

Before the National Assembly approved the figures in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2015, Mutava's committee had tried to alter the figures but State House told his team to go with the agreed figures of the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council.

The rejection of Senate's proposals means the two Houses should pick an equal number of MPs to form a mediation team and hammer out a deal.