Muturi assures on options to resolve cash sharing deadlock

Chairman of Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (right), flanked by vice chair Mwangi wa Iria, addresses the press yesterday in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]
Parliament could soon be recalled to consider the Division of Revenue Bill or amend the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act to enable counties appropriate funds in the absence of shareable revenue law.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said Parliament will explore options to resolve the current stalemate.

Mr Muturi said it is the desire of everybody involved in an attempt to unlock the impasse to resolve it.

Governors who met in Nairobi yesterday also backed the amendment the PMF Act as the law in its current form does not allow appropriation by counties without Division of Revenue Act (Dora).

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They implored on the legislature to unlock the impasse on the proposed shareable revenue law.

The governors, just like Muturi backed Attorney General Kihara Kariuki advisory opinion to Parliament, called for the passage of the PFM (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to introduce a section 191 A in the PFM Act empowering the Senate to divide among the county governments 15 per cent off all revenue collected nationally.

The AG said the Bill is of itself a recognition of the fact that there currently exists no legal mechanism for disbursing monies to the counties in the absence of the Dora.

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“We consider that this, and or such other legislative proposals, shall receive due and urgent consideration by Parliament towards the establishment of a legal framework that averts future stalemates such as the present impasse,” he argued.

Governors yesterday said the AG’s advisory is paramount as it renders the option of disbursing half of the proposed county allocation unconstitutional.

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“We therefore urge Parliament to resolve this matter urgently and allow restoration of normalcy and service delivery to Kenyans across the country,” said Council of Governors (CoG) chair Wycliffe Oparanya.

On the governors’ earlier stand on Sh335 billion proposed by the Senate, he said: “It’s up to them to decide the amount. We are in no position to control what the National Assembly and Senate does but sometimes you know there are some members who’ve taken a hardline stance.”

Muturi made reference to Article 222 on expenditure before the budget is passed, saying that mechanism should also be made available to county governments to access funds.

“Half the budgets should be there so that some disagreements of sorts when they arise, counties can be allowed to draw half of what is projected,” he said.

The CoG consultative meeting of all the committee chairs stressed that delays in passing the Bill will cripple county operations.

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“We must be alive to the consequence of this impasse. At the moment, county workers are on a go slow due to lack of supplies and non-payment of salaries,” Oparanya said after the meeting.

“We continue to hope that mediation process between the National Assembly and the Senate on the disputed Sh316.5 billion will be fruitful and that counties will receive their proper equitable share of revenue as proposed by Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) at Sh335billion.”

Muturi said in the event the second round of mediation fails, the leadership will have to pose in the National Assembly amendment of the PFM Act.

“Though the House is on recess, if we don’t see any smoke, we’ll decide that this thing needs to be fast tracked,” he said. “If the mediation talks succeed, I think there will still be need for MPs to proceed with the amendments just to be on the safe side.”

Meanwhile, governors have vowed to appeal a High Court ruling barring those charged with graft-related cases from accessing office.

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ParliamentPublic Finance ManagementSpeaker Justin Muturi