MPs pass crucial bill for counties cash

August 19, 2014 4:36 pm
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Chepkonga dropped the amendment, insinuated that he may have been prevailed upon to drop the amendment because of national interests but not before throwing barbs at the Senate/FILE
Chepkonga dropped the amendment, insinuated that he may have been prevailed upon to drop the amendment because of national interests but not before throwing barbs at the Senate/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the County Allocations on Revenue Bill and paved the way for County Governments to access funds as soon as the President assents to it.

This is after Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga backtracked on an earlier resolution that would have seen MPs amend a clause in the Bill that places a cap on the maximum cash that County Assemblies can spend.

Chepkonga dropped the amendment, insinuated that he may have been prevailed upon to drop the amendment because of national interests but not before throwing barbs at the Senate.

“The Senate is seeking to sneak in an ordinary amendment into a Special Bill; the amendment of PFM Act is an ordinary amendment. We agree on the tenor of the amendment in that we need to bring discipline in the county assemblies,” he told the 257 members who attended the sitting in preparation to veto the Senate move.

Fellow legislators also complained over the manner in which the amendment was withdrawn from the House, with some saying the leadership of the House had not been sincere.

Tom Kajwang who is also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee expressed frustration at his chairperson for withdrawing the amendment and argued the Jubilee and Opposition leadership had been forced him to withdraw the amendment.

“We were here in a Kamukunji, if the leaders thought there was something which was good for Kenya in amending a simple Act for which we have not had the basis of investigating and debating they should have addressed us and convinced us that it is in the interest of Kenyans that, that amendment is withdrawn,” said the Ruaraka legislator.

Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo castigated the Senate for trying to introduce changes into the Public Finance Management Act through the back door.

“I think wrong is wrong whether it comes from the National Assembly or the Senate, so we want to plead with them as we seek to control what is happening in our County Assemblies we do it when people are agreed, so that we don’t feel muzzled,” Midiwo said.

The National Assembly also approved a constitutional amendment which effectively wrestled control of the Sh3.4 billion Equalization Fund from the National Government to the constituencies.

Two hundred and fifty seven legislators unanimously supported the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2013 published by Samburu West MP Lati Lelelit contending that the money meant to lift marginalised areas would be better managed from the grassroots.

The Fund was established under Article 204 of the Constitution to assist marginalised areas attain the same level of development as the rest of the country.

The money, equivalent to 0.5 percent of total national revenue, is kept by the Treasury and remitted to areas targeted for intervention as determined by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA).

The intervention targets basic services including water, roads, health facilities and electricity.

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