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Ukambani governors want water scarcity factored in revenue share

 Governors from lower Eastern counties led by Machakos Wavinya'Ndeti, Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni) and Julius Malombe (Kitui). [John Muia, Standard]

Three governors from the lower Eastern counties of Kitui, Machakos and Makueni now want the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to factor in the region’s risks while crafting the revenue-sharing formula.

The three leaders declared that the ongoing debate on revenue allocation for counties will not yield fruit unless unique challenges facing the region are taken into account.

They spoke after holding a day-long summit meeting hosted by Governor Wavinya Ndeti in Machakos. 

Wavinya, Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni) and Julius Malombe (Kitui) held consultations with commissioners from CRA on the sidelines of an extraordinary meeting of the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (Sekeb).

The leaders outlined a raft of issues they want considered in the formula for revenue sharing among the counties.

Key among the positions taken by the three leaders was backing the call by the Council of Governors to increase allocation to counties in the 2024/25 Financial Year.

“We made our point that the CRA revenue sharing formula consultations are immaterial if the amount of funds being shared among counties is not adjusted upwards,” said Wavinya, who read the joint statement by the county bosses.

The governors argued that CRA must acknowledge that funds must follow functions, and the revenue-sharing formula must address the special burdens borne by the bloc.

“We note with concern the lack of data on water scarcity from the Kenya National Bureau of Standards (KNBS). We hold the position that water scarcity be included as a parameter for determining revenue allocation amongst counties,” she said.

The leaders also cited the pressure on healthcare services occasioned by frequent accidents along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

The governors also delved into the challenge of flooding being experienced in various places due to ongoing heavy rainfall, citing massive destruction of infrastructure facilities.

“The damage is colossal after dams and rivers burst their banks, leading to massive flooding that has caused disruption of transportation services,” they said.

Mutula Kilonzo Jnr noted that the region had also been affected by the ongoing doctors' strike, saying it had paralysed healthcare services.

On infrastructure, Kitui governor Julius Malombe said the county leaders were contemplating developing a joint budget to undertake common projects linking the counties.

Their calls come amid heightened pressure by the Council of Governors to have the proposed allocation of Sh391 billion as equitable share of revenue to counties as captured in the Division of Revenue Bill increased to Sh439.5 billion.

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