Uhuru commits Sh50b for counties to end revenue impasse

President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi when he convened a leaders meeting to discuss the county revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to raise next year's counties budget by Sh50 billion, the latest of inducements seeking to unlock the stalemate on the revenue sharing formula.

The Senate has failed to pass the formula that would determine how counties would share Sh316.5 billion for a record nine times.

The allocation of the additional funds for the financial year 2021/22, Uhuru said, will be dependent on the financial performance of the economy.

Mr Kenyatta made the pledge on Tuesday when he hosted leaders at State House, Nairobi to discuss the county revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate.

The meeting –  attended by Raila Odinga and Chairman of the Council of Governors Wycliffe Oparanya – resolved that the funds will go towards strengthening devolution.

State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said the Senate was represented by Majority leader Samuel Poghisio and Majority chief whip Irungu Kang'ata.

The Minority leader James Orengo, Poghisio's deputy Fatuma Dullo, nominated senator Beatrice Kwamboka and Taita Taveta senator Mwashushe Mwaruma were also present.

"The President urged senators to urgently resolve the revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate so as to avoid disruption of service delivery in the counties," said Kanze in a statement.

Senators will convene Tuesday afternoon with the hope of finding a consensus to the stalemate on the tenth attempt.

Already, a 12-member committee charged with the responsibility of seeking a deal on the matter failed to settle on a unilateral formula.

The team submitted two reports because they could not agree on the best formula given counties that are gaining insisted that they must gain while those losing insisted that they cannot lose.

An informal meeting between the senators and the House leadership aborted yesterday with some senators holding that Speaker Kenneth Lusaka's team was frustrating them to please the Executive.

Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jrn, a stalwart of ‘Team Kenya’ – a camp opposing a controversial formula that cuts allocation of 18 counties by Sh17 billion, claimed that the bungled meeting was part of the scheme to push through the divisive formula.

"There is no way we will append our signatures to a formula that disadvantages our county of Garissa or Wajir. Team Kenya anticipated the shenanigans and have a plan," he said adding that: "The speaker has thrown us under the bus. The select committee work is a waste. Kamukunji was supposed to get a brief before plenary."