County revenue law awaits presidential assent

June 6, 2013 4:35 pm
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The Senate last week approved the Bill with a recommendation that the money to counties be raised from Sh210 billion as proposed by Treasury and approved by the National Assembly, to Sh258 billion/FILE
The Senate last week approved the Bill with a recommendation that the money to counties be raised from Sh210 billion as proposed by Treasury and approved by the National Assembly, to Sh258 billion/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – The Division of Revenue Bill now awaits presidential assent after the National Assembly disregarded amendments by the Senate to increase allocations to the 47 counties by another Sh48 billion from the agreed Sh210bn.

The Senate last week approved the Bill with a recommendation that the money to counties be raised from Sh210 billion as proposed by Treasury and approved by the National Assembly, to Sh258 billion.

The amendments in Bill has elicited a supremacy debated between the National Assembly and the Senate over who between them should have the final say in regard to the crucial law that determines how the national government shares revenues with county governments.

MPs who contributed to the report by the House Committee on Budget and Appropriations argued that the amendments adopted by the Senate should be ignored because the Bill was forwarded to the Senate unconstitutionally.

Mbadi said it was wrong and improper for the Bill to have been forwarded to the Senate. He said the Upper House has no mandate to deal with issues relating to revenue at national government level.

The MP said the role of the Senate is only consigned to dealing with special Bills such as the annual allocation of revenue to the counties as well as election of members of county assemblies and has nothing to do with allocation of revenue for the national governments.

Majority Leader Aden Duale and Seme MP James Nyikal said raising revenues allocated to county governments by Sh48 billion may compromise some national plans since the Treasury will be forced to reorganise the budget.

Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Mutava Musyimi said he was concerned that the amendment gave the perception that they Kenya was not a unitary State.

He said the committee had proposed the formation of working council that will bring together members from the Budget and Appropriations Committee in both Houses, representative from the Governors Council and Cabinet Secretaries whose mandate transcends the national and county government functions.

Mutava said ministries to sit in the consultative working group which meet after the conclusion of this year’s budget process will be led by Cabinet Secretaries for Devolution and Planning, National Treasury, Agriculture, Transport, Health and Water.

It is not clear if the Senate will petition the president against assenting to the Bill that outlines how the national revenue will be shared among national and county governments.

The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had earlier on dismissed the Senate amendments to the Bill.

Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro and CIC chairman Charles Nyachae contradicted him, declaring the Senate must be involved in the approval of Bills concerning counties in accordance with article 96 of the constitution.

The commission said that while article 95(4)(a) of the Constitution gives the National Assembly the duty of determining the allocation of revenues between the two levels of government, that provision has to be read with article 218 of the Constitution, which provides that it is the two Houses of Parliament – The Senate and National Assembly – that have to determine the sharing of revenues by processing the Bill.

CIC urged the two chambers to form a mediation committee to resolve the dispute.

A disagreement between both Houses and failure by a committee to reconcile the two, will make the Bill obsolete.

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