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North Eastern Counties want Revenue sharing formula put on hold

By Rawlings Otieno | July 3rd 2020

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani (left) with Mandera Governor Ali Roba during a luncheon sponsored by North Eastern leaders to congratulate him for his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta to head Treasury docket, on Sunday, February 16 2020. [David Njaaga, Standard]

County chiefs from arid and semi-arid areas have called for deferment of the third basis of revenue allocation for a year, arguing that they are likely to lose Sh17 billion in allocation.

Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) comprising Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, Turkana, Tana River, West Pokot, Lamu and Mandera are among the 18 counties that will be the biggest losers should the third basis formula of revenue sharing be adopted.

The leaders argued that if the revised revenue sharing formula is implemented as proposed by Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), it will impact budget plans in their regions which have already gone through stages of public participation and approval.

They said should the formula be adopted, critical services like food production, healthcare provision, early childhood education, road networks and water services will be hampered.

Led by FCDC chairman and Mandera Governor Ali Roba, the leaders want President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Senate to consider deferring implementation of the third basis formula of revenue sharing.

Already, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has called for a ‘Kamkunji’ on Monday to reach a consensus before the report is tabled at the plenary on Tuesday.

The governors from the 10 counties argue that sudden reduction in fund flows will inevitably lead to stalled projects, especially for those that are midstream.

“At a time that governors are readying to popularise BBI and referendum, it will be hard to sell to the public and convince them that the government agenda is good while at the same arguing that it is the same regime that reduced funds and adversely affected them,” said Roba in a statement. 

“It is important to cushion the counties and prioritise completion of on-going projects and avoid a scaling down of service delivery due to impending revenue reduction.”

The governors argued North and North Eastern counties have high levels of poverty at 70 per cent and have poor access to basic services like roads, electricity connection and water supply.

Roba said citizens of the affected counties need social protection.

“The ASAL counties are facing serious challenges of drought experienced last year, the recent floods and landslides, locust invasion and the new normal of Covid-19 pandemic. We need the support of the national government, the president and the Senate in regard to massive reduction of sharable revenue in frontier counties,” he said.

The county chiefs argued that they risk punishing many more innocent Kenyans who have borne the brunt of the effects of Covid-19 pandemic by losing jobs and income.

“We appeal to President Uhuru to come to our aid and ensure that devolution, whose implementation started at the beginning of his term, grows to deliver benefits to the people of Kenya and becomes central to his legacy through the success of the Big Four Agenda,” said Roba.

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