Governors oppose CRA’s proposed revenue sharing among counties

Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya flanked by his colleagues. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Governors have poked holes in the proposed equitable share of funds among counties by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) in the next budget.

They now want an urgent meeting by the Council of Governors (CoG) to review the proposals, after it emerged that the conditional allocation from the national government and the conditional grants from donors have been included in the Sh370 billion to counties.

CRA recommends Sh17.02 billion conditional grant.

Governors have faulted the proposal to include conditional allocation, where counties receive equal funding, saying it will starve those with larger responsibilities of funds.

“You can solve a problem but create another one. Across the country, we have more than eight referral hospitals. Kisii Level Five, caters for patients from Nyamira, Trans Mara, Homa Bay, Migori and northern part of Tanzania, how will we ensure we continue providing services?” posed Kisii Governor James Ongwae.

“We cannot restrict treatment of patients from those counties simply because we lack funds. The decision should be effected in a gradual manner as it will affect our budgets for water and roads among others.” 

Conditional grant

In the past, additional funds over and above the equitable share, included Sh9.8 billion as the Road Maintenance Levy Fund (RMLF), Sh900 million to compensate counties for user fees in public health facilities, Sh4.32 billion for Level Five hospitals and Sh2 billion for upgrading village youth polytechnics.

In the CRA recommendations, Sh17 billion conditional grant is now proposed to be unconditional and therefore be shared among all the counties.

“So, the baseline is retained at Sh316.5 billion, while Sh17.02 billion be shared among all the counties as unconditional allocation, previously allocated as conditional grants for health, roads and education,” reads the CRA statement.

Further, the revenue commission seeks to raise the balance of Sh36.48 billion to counties from the ministries, departments and national agencies in the national government for concurrent functions in health, water, irrigation and sanitation, crop development livestock and fisheries sectors.

Governor Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) concurs with Ongwae that Level Five Hospitals will suffer if the recommendations are approved by parliament.

“We don’t have Level Five Hospitals in all counties while those that have health facilities below Level Five receive compensation for user fees. This will affect counties that have to shoulder the financial responsibilities for Level Fives,” said Kahiga.

On his part, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o noted that despite CRA alluding to the fact that it consulted Parliament and CoG, they are yet to hold a meeting and take a common stand.

“We are yet to discuss it in the CoG. Yes, they consulted us, but the outcome is not necessarily what the CoG recommends. We need to meet and review the same,” said Prof Nyong’o.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru lauded the proposed increment to counties in the next budget. While she would want more resources allocated to the county, she commended the additional allocation.

“The average allocation to Kirinyaga County over the past three years has been Sh4.1 billion with over 70 per cent going to recurrent expenditure,” said Waiguru. 

Governors are expected to put across their case before the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (Ibec) meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto and Parliament.

CRA asserted that they engaged all stakeholders before coming up with the proposal which occasioned the delay in releasing the same.

“The submission was delayed by 15 days to enable the commission build consensus with Parliament, the Council of Governors and the National Treasury,” stated CRA.

Last week, CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya disagreed with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani’s assertion that the Sh34.6 billion at the CBK was lying idle in the County Revenue Fund Accounts and clarified that they were for projects already budgeted for by the counties.