BBI: MCAs to control millions as counties set to get 35 per cent of revenue

Vihiga County Assembly in session. [File, Standard]

The 1,450 elected Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) will have millions of shillings under their control if a proposal by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to create a fund becomes law.

The BBI report released yesterday seeks to create Ward Development Fund that will hand the politicians a similar sway that Members of Parliament enjoy in the running of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) projects.

County governments are also set to receive enhanced allocations from the current 15 per cent to 35 per cent of the national revenue to the devolved units.

According to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Ward Development Fund will comprise of at least five per cent of all the county government's revenue in each financial year.

The proposed Bill also seeks to amend Article 203 – Equitable Share and other financial laws – to expand the criteria in determining how much each of the 47 counties receive from the national cake. The proposal seeks to cure perennial deadlock in passing revenue sharing formula by the Senate.

The new criteria will now include the need to eradicate corrupt practices and wastage of public resources as well as the need to ensure the attainment of the economic and social rights.

Legal framework

The 14-member task force has since proposed the County Wards Development Fund Bill, 2020, that seeks to provide a legal framework for the implementation of the new kitty.

The team chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji said in the document that Kenyans expressed their views on the successes of devolution and overwhelmingly vouched for its retention.

There were, however, concerns over rampant wastage of resources as well as runaway corruption under the watch of governors.

There were also divergent views on the revenue allocation formula, spending that has failed to trickle down to the grassroots, poor planning, misplaced priorities among other teething problems.

“Other views were that devolution has led to marginalisation in counties where some groups find themselves discriminated by the majority,” states the report.

The document also seeks to complete transfer of functions from the national government to counties, including restructuring or winding up of parastatals that still carry out county government functions.

It further seeks to initiate reforms to ensure that counties become centres of growth and economic development, including governors as part of the security structure within the devolved units.

The proposed bill also seeks to have functions of Nairobi County be transferred to the national government.

Amend law

Clause 43 of the Bill proposes to amend Article 200 to require that Parliament to make legislation that will provide mechanisms for distributing certain functions relating to the capital city to the national government.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko last year signed away most of his functions to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

The BBI report has also proposed Devolution Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that seeks to include a provision requiring governors to designate county executive committee portfolio to their deputies. ?

The document has also proposed restructuring of the National Health Insurance Fund as well as initiate reforms to improve service delivery in counties.