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Public gives input on devolved funds to Senate

BUDGET-BRIEFCASENAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – A public session to discuss the Division of Revenue Bill 2013 on Monday saw the Senate being urged to simplify the proposed law.

Those invited to give their views before the Senate Committee on Finance, Commerce and Economic Affairs said some clauses in the Bill are too complex.

The session at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) was led by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow who chairs the Committee.

“I want to know how much the projects in the counties are going to cost in terms of allocation to tenders and funds. In my county, there are projects that were initiated by the government but are still incomplete.

Is it the national government that is going to undertake the project or is it the County government?” A financial analyst from Bungoma County David Wekesa asked.

“When it comes to procurements, the youth do not have a lot of information about tenders. Are the tenders going to be advertised at the national level or county levels? All these aspects of the Bill should be made clear,” he proposed.

Chrispine Oduol from the Institute of Economic Affairs pointed out that a clarification on how the allocations to the counties especially the Equalisation Fund had been arrived at should be made since it has not been clearly outlined in the Bill.

A PhD student from University of the Western Cape in South Africa Conrad Bosire stated that a detailed functional analysis should be done to show what is to be done by the County governments.

Committee member Kipchumba Murkomen stated that the public hearings will inform the decision on whether to increase or decrease revenue especially to the county governments.

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“The Senate has to pronounce itself on whether or not the money will be higher or less than what was passed by the National Assembly.

The reason why we have this session is for you to help us to make a case as to whether we should increase that allocation because the message being passed out there is as though whatever was passed by the National Assembly is a fait accompli (a foregone conclusion),” he stated.

The Division of Revenue Bill 2013 seeks to provide for the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments.

In the first financial year, the counties will receive Sh210 billion, of which Sh190 billion will be shared equitably and Sh20 billion for ongoing projects, counties with Level 5 hospitals, and donor-funded work that may be tied to specific projects.

The submissions are crucial as Parliament is supposed to consider the input from the public and are expected to end by May 25.


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