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Senators pass Revenue Bill to ease funds crisis

COUNTIES
By ROSELYNE OBALA | Aug 1st 2014 | 2 min read

Kenya: Senate fast-tracked the enactment of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill in a bid to unlock the current funding crisis in counties.

Failure by Parliament to enact the law, plus the Division of Revenue Act, which was assented into law on Wednesday caused a delay in the disbursement of the funds to counties, spinning off financial crunch in the devolved units.

But the House yesterday accelerated the enactment of the law, which distributes the Sh226.66 billions among the 47 counties, passing it before the House adjourned for a 47-day recess.

The Bill, which will now be sent to the National Assembly for concurrence before it can be delivered to the President for assent, also factors in Sh1.87 billion from Treasury to level five hospitals.

Senators, however, were of the opinion that the formula used to share the revenue should be reviewed to ensure all counties' interests are factored in.

The Bill, which is currently in the committee stage will see counties like Nairobi, Turkana, Mandera, Bungoma and Kakamega receive the lions share, while Isiolo, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Elgeyo Marakwet receive the lowest allocation.

The legislation also details allocation of regional hospitals, with Nakuru County receiving the highest at Sh318million down from Sh600million the previous year.

Meru Level Five Hospital will get the least share of Sh64 million - scaled down from Sh183 million.

Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki noted that the Bill should be fast tracked to enable counties access the funds to avoid paralysing operations. Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura called for a review on the formular for allocation, noting that the current one may disadvantage other regions.

Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow explained that once the House passes the Bill, Sh226 billion will be shareable revenue and additional Sh1.8 billion will be released by the National government for level five hospitals.

"Counties will now withdraw monies to finance their operations before Treasury releases funds," he said.

Council of Governors (CoG) last week warned that if nothing is done within a week, services at the counties might suffer, especially the Health sector.

Kerrow also took the opportunity to warn MCAs against attempting to influence the governors to cave into demands to increase the assembly allocation. The committee chair revealed that as opposed to last financial year where monies were released in quarterly tranches, this year it will be monthly.

Senator Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) faulted Kakamega County for allocating Sh600 million for Ward growth.


 

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