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National Assembly ignores changes to Revenue Bill

POLITICS
By Standard Reporter | June 7th 2013

By Standard Reporter

The National Assembly has overturned the recommendation by the Senate that counties be allocated an additional Sh48 billion, further escalating the conflict between the two Houses.

MPs rejected the Senate’s recommendation for changes to the Division of Revenue Bill to increase allocation to the 47 counties to Sh258 billion.

They voted to reinstate the initial allocation of Sh210 billion set by the Treasury, which they had earlier approved before the Bill was referred to the Senate.

Backed senate

The referral of the Bill, designed to provide for the equitable division of revenue raised between the national and county governments, to the Senate sparked a row between the two Houses.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said the Bill should not have been forwarded to the Senate.

But Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro said the Bill was constitutionally before the House. The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution backed the Senate, saying it had a role in passage of the Bill as it touched on the welfare of counties.

Members of the National Assembly, however, vowed to overturn all changes made to the Bill by senators to stamp their authority.

Thursday, Leader of Majority Aden Duale said national plans could be affected if allocation to counties was increased by Sh48 billion as the Treasury would be forced to adjust spending plans.

MPs including John Mbadi said the Bill should not have been forwarded to the Senate in the first place, describing the move as unconstitutional.

The Bill will be referred to the President for assent. But the action has escalated the supremacy war between the National Assembly and the Senate.

If the two Houses engage in a showdown, the move could also be subject to litigation and power struggles that could have implications on policy formulation.

The Standing Orders also provide an arbitration mechanism should a dispute arise between the two Houses.

The Senate had sent back the Bill to the National Assembly after making amendments to it, including raising the allocations to the county governments from Sh210 billion that the assembly had set to Sh258 billion.

The Senate had placed in the dailies a paid-up advert of the ruling of its Speaker, defending the position of the House to handle the Bill.

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