NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – Senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri) and Beatrice Elachi (Nominated) have been nominated to a mediation committee to amend the Division of Revenue Bill after the National Assembly rejected the proposals by the Senate.
The three are required to meet with a team from the National Assembly and come up with a version of the Bill which is acceptable to both Houses.
“If the mediation committee agrees on a version of the Bill each House shall vote to approve or reject that version of the Bill. If both Houses approve the version of the Bill the Speaker of the National Assembly shall refer it to the President for assent,” said Speaker of the Senate Ekwee Ethuro.
If within 30 days, the mediation committee does not agree on the Bill or if the version of the committee is rejected by either House, the Bill is defeated and the status quo remains.
Last week the National Assembly rejected amendments by the Senate proposing a Sh7 billion increase in allocation to counties from Sh284 billion to Sh291 billion.
In its defense, the lower House accused the Senate of going back on its approval of the budget ceilings for national and county governments saying the proposed increment went against the Budget Policy statement.
Mutava Musyimi who chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee argued that the Senate had failed to satisfactorily indicate where the extra money would be raised from, an opinion not taken lightly by Senators who termed it as attempts to belittle and undermine them.
“It’s not our duty to say where the money comes from, it is our duty to ensure county governments get adequate funding so that they perform their functions – once the national cake has been arrived at, and the national government says it should be this much, the question of division becomes our question,” said Senator Amos Wako.
Wako defended the proposed increment saying the allocation did not supersede the National budget further expressing confidence in the mediation committee to resolve the issue.
Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura cited the recent meeting with county speakers where the Senate reiterated its resolve to protect the counties saying they would fight to ensure their position in ensuring the success of devolution was respected.
The Mediation Committee which must have equal representation from both Houses will see the National Assembly represented by Musyimi (Mbeere South), Mary Emase (Teso South) and Tom Kajwang’(Ruaraka).