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MPs say senators insincere about Sh415b allocation to counties

Politics

 

 When Senators engaged in a heated debate over equitable shareable revenue at the Senate chambers. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A section of Members of Parliament is reading sinister motives in senators' push to have counties get Sh415 billion equitable shareable revenue.

Speaking in Navakholo, Kakamega County, Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali said senators are not sincere in their new push to increase county allocation since the majority of them have declared interest in running for governor in 2027 and they intend to control more resources if elected to office.

"Our senators are speaking the truth and facts that counties need more money but they are not sincere because they have a hidden agenda of giving more money to counties because they want to be governors," said Shinali.

"It would be different if our senators would put aside their greed and ask for more money to counties if they had not declared openly that they want to be governors. Most of those pushing for more resources have declared their interest and they want to control more resources when they become governors and that is their main agenda and not more money to help our people," he claimed.

Vihiga Woman Representative Beatrice Adagala slammed senators saying that the National Assembly will give money to governors based on what is available and not because they (senators) want more allocation to counties with a view of becoming governors.

"We are the ones giving and allocating money to counties and we have seen some senators who are campaigning to become governors calling for more money so that they can be in charge, we shall allocate counties what is available based on the status of our economy not because senators want more resources," said Adagala.

"They should tell us how money has been spent in their counties and the level of development, we don't want to give more money and in return, we witness corruption and misuse of public money," she added.

However, Likuyani MP Innocent Mugabe said counties need to get more money in order to address inequality that has been witnessed in the sharing of national resources.

"We have been experiencing discrepancies in the sharing of national resources across the country because more money is left with the national government and when a new regime comes in power it distributes the resources based on the voting pattern," said Mugabe.

"The perceived opposition areas are usually disadvantaged and to end such problems we need to give more money and resources to counties so that our people can easily access resources and get services," he added

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi concurred with Mugabe and urged the mediation committee to approve the Sh415 billion as an equitable share to counties.

"Counties need an additional Sh24 billion to achieve and implement new obligations and as senators across the political divide, we are speaking in one voice that we want to hear that the mediation committee has approved the Sh415 billion as proposed and approved by the Senate because counties need more money to realise the fruits of devolution," said Osotsi.

He told MPs to approve the Division of Revenue Bill that proposes a Sh415 billion allocation to counties to end the notion that lawmakers are enemies of devolution.

"We will support devolution to our last breath and we are working with governors to realise that and we urge our MPs to join us, let them approve the figure and ensure more monies are sent to counties so that they can remove the notion that they are against devolution," he said.

Senators approved Sh415 billion allocation to counties from Sh385 billion but the National Assembly rejected it and instead approved Sh391 billion which led to a stalemate and the formation of a mediation committee to resolve the issue.

The Council of Governors (CoG) criticised MPs for rejecting the Senate's proposal to increase equitable shareable revenue to counties for the financial year 2024/2025 from Sh385 billion to Sh415 billion, terming it a threat to devolution.

CoG Finance and Economic Planning Committee chairperson and Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa said devolved units require more funds to implement projects and new functions.

Governors had demanded Sh450 billion for the coming financial year.

“I fault with the National Assembly Budget Committee for rejecting senators’ proposal to increase counties allocation to Sh415 billion. Counties have medical equipment to be serviced and various other duties which have been devolved but not funded and I urge the mediation committee to increase the allocation so that we can be able to handle the new functions," said Barasa.

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