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CRA must provide data on revenue share

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Economic experts have asked the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to provide information to the public regarding the recommended figures on the equitable sharing of revenue between the national and the county government for the 2014/2015 financial year.

The Institute of Economic Affairs Chief Executive Officer Kwame Owino said there needs to be detailed information on the criteria used by CRA to come up with the budget figures.

Owino said the current data does not show whether enough money has been allocated to support both national and county functions.

“We would like to see details around each figure. How did CRA come up with those figures? Because if we can account for each and every billion, we can define whether counties and the national government are actually getting enough money or not,” he said.

On his part, International Budget Partnership Senior Program Officer Jason Lakin said there was still uncertainty over county and national functions since there are still unresolved areas like roads pointing out that it brings confusion on division of revenue.

“What is a county road, what is a national road? Also, HIV services have been devolved according to gazette notice from August 2013, but does this include procurement of ARVs? Who holds the budget for this?” Lakin posed.

Lakin urged the government to strike a balance between debt financing infrastructure and investments by counties pointing out that debt must be weighed against services and investments by counties that are not debt financed.

“When national government borrows it increases the share of budget going to dept repayment. Those funds are not shareable hence amounts that can go to countries also fall,” Lakin explained.

He said that Consolidated Fund services (which is 90 percent debt) has risen by 65 percent in the 2012/2013 financial year to Sh346 billion, compared to 2011/2012 at Sh210 billion financial year.

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Lakin also said that the wage bill was still high, pointing out that there needs interrogations to find out why the wages are very high in both National and County governments.

“Counties need about Sh48 billion a year for wages? Is it correct? There has been arising issues of ghost workers, these issues need to be addressed so as we give the correct division of revenue,” he stated.

He asked Parliament to look into these issues before approving the Division of Revenue Bill.

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