Transfer of city functions to NMS was a big challenge, senators say

The senate chambers during the pre-swearing sessions of Senators on September 7, 2022.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Senate has termed the transfer of county functions by Nairobi County to the national government as one of the biggest challenges that the previous House faced.

According to the Senate, this exposed the country to a lack of a proper legal framework in the transfer process under the devolved system.

This emerged during the ongoing five-day induction workshop for senators in Sawela Lodge Naivasha which is chaired by Speaker Amason Kingi.

According to Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, the move to transfer the functions of the county to the national government called for an urgent review of the law.

Murkomen noted that the Constitution provided that a function or power of government may be transferred to a government at the other level by agreement between the governments.

“The function would be more effectively exercised by the receiving government and the Devolution Committee sponsored an amendment to the Inter-Governmental Relations Act to streamline the process,” he said.

In a presentation made on his behalf by Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, he noted that the third Senate had made various strides including passing the Third Basis of the Revenue Sharing Formula.

The Elgeyo Marakwet Senator noted that adequate resources must be allocated to enable counties to perform their functions and improve the livelihood of Kenyans.

He revisited the issue of an oversight fund noting that there was a need to facilitate the Senate so as to strengthen its roles.

“As counties continue to grow and with increased resource allocations, there is a justifiable need to bolster and capacitate the Senate to strengthen its oversight role,” he said.

Kirinyaga Governor and chair of the Council of Governors Anne Waiguru urged senators to prioritise increasing funds and timely disbursement to county governments once they get down to business.

Waiguru said the move would improve service delivery in the counties.

"The county funds allocation should be increased from the current 14 per cent to at least 35 per cent to ensure devolution works better across the country," she said.