Increase our allocation, counties tell revenue body

Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Senator Godfrey Osotsi. [Brian Kisanji, Standard]

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has been petitioned to increase the amount of funds received by the ‘smaller’ counties.

Vihiga, which is ranked among the smallest counties, has demanded that CRA consider increasing the devolved unit’s equitable share of the sharable revenue by at least Sh1 billion.

Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Senator Godfrey Osotsi said they want the county’s equitable share to match the allocation given to ‘big’ counties.

Senator Osotsi urged CRA to consider increasing the amount allocated to counties in the coming financial year from the current Sh396 billion to an agreeable amount.

Osotsi, together with other local leaders, aims to have the Sh5.9 billion allocation to the Vihiga County government increased to at least Sh6.9 billion in the next allocation.

“As senators from counties that receive little allocation, we have formed a caucus to ensure the least a county can get is Sh7 billion annually from the national government,” he said.

Last year, CRA had recommended counties share of revenue at Sh396.05 billion, positioning the devolved units for an extra Sh21 billion in the financial year ending June 2025.

Mr Osotsi, however, says the amount can go way higher given the taxation burden that has been heaped on Kenyans by the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“People are paying huge taxes and we honestly expect that we also have increased sharable revenues to counties from the National Government,” said Osotsi.

Governor Ottichilo said allocation Vihiga receives currently is not sustainable for implementing projects.

“Vihiga is among counties that receive the least allocation and it’s hard to carry out developmental projects,” said Dr Ottichilo.

The current basis used for sharing revenue takes into account eight parameters: basic share, population, health, poverty level, agriculture, roads, land and urban level.

Ottichilo wondered why Vihiga is not a beneficiary of the Equalisation Funds yet some other ‘well off’ counties receive the funds meant to boost their development kitties.

“With the parameters, they are basically telling us that Vihiga is a rich county that needs no help as our poverty index is low, yet the truth is that we have no roads and lack other amenities,” argued the governor.

The current sharing formula, the third since the advent of devolution in 2013, expires in 2024-25 financial year with the new model expected to have been developed by then.

CRA Commissioner Hadija Juma, while on a visit to Vihiga noted the concern of the leaders which she said ought to be discussed further.

She admitted that Vihiga and other small counties have valid concerns that ought to be discussed by the commission in collaboration with the Senate. “We are in talks with ‘smaller counties’ and their Senators to see how we can best resolve the issue they have raised to the commission,” she said.