Senators, CRA in a bid to end deadlock over revenue sharing formula for counties

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro

Mombasa, Kenya: Senators and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) are meeting in Mombasa to consider the second generation criteria for revenue allocation to counties, amidst strong criticism on the new proposed parameters for the division of revenue.

CRA, which is constitutionally mandated to recommend to the Senate the formula for sharing of revenue has altered the formula that has been used to determine the allocation in the last three financial years. This has in turn altered the percentage for some allocations and created two more parameters which if passed would see a change in what counties receive.

While the commission has retained county population as the key parameter for revenue sharing, retaining its percentage at 45 percent and also maintained  25 percent to be shared equally among the 47 counties, it has reduced the poverty index parameter from 20 percent to 18.

It has also reduced by half, the weight on counties’ fiscal responsibility from 2 percent to one percent, and included development factor as a new parameter, taking one percent of the revenue and also proposing personnel emolument factor as a new parameter to be given two percent of the shared revenue.

Huge workforce

The personnel emolument parameter will come as a major relief to counties with huge workforce inherited from the former regime and notably those that were provincial headquarters, as they would be given more money to cater for the interests of the huge workforce.

Opening the workshop, Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro urged stakeholders to ensure that they considered the spirit of equity while coming up with the new formula.

He challenged Senators not to be driven by interests for their respective counties but come up with a criterion that would ensure fairness, equity and justice.

“This is a moment of give and take. We need to compromise and build a consensus,” Ethuro asked of the legislators.

He added: “We must not look at the individual interest of the counties we represent but we should consider the interest of the entire country to ensure that the formula that is finally tabled in the House is accepted by all”.

CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem told the senators that theirs was only a recommendation, even as he urged them to act on the basis of equity while considering the formula.

“It is yours (the formula) to consider, negotiate and agree. We are only recommending it to you. We beseech that you come up with what you feel is agreeable to all,” he said.

The commission chairman was quick to dispel fears that some counties could end up receiving less that what they had been getting, said the new formula proposed measures to cushion such counties and ensure they got a share equal to what they had received under the expired formula.

Senate minority Leader Moses Wetangula cautioned that unless an equitable formula is agreed, the less developed counties risked being left behind, defeating the purpose of devolution.

“We must be very diligent because once we pass this formula, it will be used to determine what counties receive in the next three years. We must move on the basis of equity and come up with deliberate affirmative action that would boost the less developed,” said Wetangula.