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Senators vow to reject counties budget cuts

POLITICS
By Roselyne Obala | September 23rd 2018
Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula. [File, Standard]

A clash looms in the Senate as senators vow to reject amendments to the Division of Revenue Act slashing Sh9 billion from the counties.

Governors have also cried foul over the matter, accusing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government of undermining devolution by starving them of resources.

The Sunday Standard has reliably learnt that so far, a critical mass of the Senate is united in standing up for the counties against the austerity measures proposed by the President and endorsed by the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly approved the reduction of Sh9 billion meant for counties without any consultations. They should rest assured the Senate stands by the Sh314 billion budget for counties and therefore will reject any further deductions,” said a senator who declined to be named.

The proposed budget cuts sailed through in the National Assembly after MPs secured their Sh33.3 billion Constituency Fund (CDF) and Sh2.1 billion Affirmative Action Fund.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the country is on the highway to bankruptcy.

“Counties today have not received development funds, they are only getting money for salaries to prevent strikes and noise. We have devolved corruption and pay matters, the only devolution actualised by the National government,” said Wetang’ula.

Nominated Senator Farjia Haji said since independence Kenya has had 14 ministers, including the President and only borrowed Sh1.7 trillion, yet National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich in three years has borrowed Sh2.3 trillion.

“Is this proper? Now counties vote is targeted,” said Haji.

Governors warned the budget cuts will hamper service delivery as it will mean revising further their budgets already committed.

According to the Council of Governors, the move will occasion the highest loss of Sh455 million to Nairobi City County while the rest of the counties will lose Sh192 million each.

The governors said they already ceded ground during their February Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) meeting chaired by Deputy President William Ruto to only accept Sh12 billion increment from the last budget.

The meeting chaired by Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok noted that the budget was based on a Sh1.6 trillion revenue projection.

However, when the national budget was finalised in June, the National Treasury reviewed the projections upwards by Sh82 billion to Sh1.79 trillion but allocation to the 47 counties remained the same.

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