Confusion reigned in Parliament yesterday over the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 after the Senate passed the legislation, overlooking a similar bill introduced in the National Assembly.
While the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 was introduced in the National Assembly, the Senate passed their own version of the Bill without amendments.
And now the bill passed by Senate will be introduced in the National Assembly for concurrence while the National Assembly Bill will now be committed to the Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu).
While moving the Bill in the Senate, Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Mohammed Mahamud (Mandera) said the House had decided to republish the Bill on the basis of the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) position.
CRA is the body mandated by the Constitution to recommend how revenues will be shared between the two levels of government.
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Mr Mahamud faulted the decision by the National Treasury to reduce the base for equitable share of revenue for counties from Sh314 billion to Sh304 billion, terming the move illegal as both the Division of Revenue Act (DORA), 2018 and County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) 2018 were not amended to cater for the revised figure.
The two Houses are quarrelling over the exact figure of county funds that should go to counties in 2019-20 financial year.
While the National Assembly has stuck on the Sh316 billion, the Senate has insisted on Sh335 billion arguing that the figure takes care of inflationary conditions for counties.
The Sh335 billion was arrived at using the Sh314 billion, which is in DORA 2018 and CARA 2018 as the base and then factoring in a three-year inflation rate at the current 6.9 per cent.
But Mahamud faulted the National Treasury for revising the figure of funds to counties and urged the National Assembly to defend the Constitution by ensuring that more funds are disbursed to counties.
“The National Assembly must be pragmatic and not defend a National Treasury that has gone rogue,” he said.
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula said Sh335 billion was not enough for the counties but Senate had given in because it was the recommendation of CRA. “We are not here to defend counties on the basis of tokenism of the National Assembly,” he said.