NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – The Senate has triumphed in the stalemate on the Division of Revenue Bill after the National Assembly gave in to their demands to increase the allocation to counties by Sh3.3 billion bringing the total shareable revenue to Sh287billion.
The mediation committees formed after the two Houses failed to agree on the proposals decided to adopt the Sh3.3 billion increment as proposed by the Parliamentary Budget office.
The National Assembly which had been adamant that it would not budge went down but with a fight with the Senate having to give up Sh4.4 billion they were proposing for the Contingency Fund.
Various Senators commended the mediation committee for a job well, done saying they had put up a good fight for the sake of the counties.
“I want to tell my dear Governors wherever they are that they have to know that we are working hard to ensure the counties are getting their dues, and this is the work o the senators. We are being pushed and pulled but we are fighting,” said Tana River Senator Ali Bule.
Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe the vice chairman of the mediation committee acknowledged the fact that they had to relinquish the emergency fund as it was a function of the counties according to section 110 of the PFM Act.
The Act states that; ”Each emergency fund shall be set up by the County Executive Committee of Finance with the approval of the respective County Assembly.”
He questioned the intentions of the National Assembly top deny Kenyans the ability to access better healthcare saying the money was necessary to ensure better delivery of services.
“The two Houses need to agree on the sharable revenue before the bill is published to avoid such conflicts that risk exposing both the national and county government to a serious financial crisis,” said Kagwe.
Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) urged the Senate to adopt the new changes so that the budgeting process was not interfered with.
Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi referred to the decision of the mediation team as a Solomonic decision lashing out at those opposed to it as being anti-devolution.
“There is no need for the two Houses to engage in a theatre of conflicts. The contest on who is greater than the other is misplaced. Both of us are servants of the people,” he said.
Sh4.4 billion had been set aside for the Contingency Fund leaving Sh3.3 billion for Level 5 hospitals and the increment to the shareable revenue.
The Bill plays a critical role in the budget-making process at both the National and County Governments and if the Bill is not passed by both Houses as per the law, the planning will be greatly affected.
“Counties will be unable to prepare their estimates of expenditures and revenues legally, and the budgets prepared risk being declared unconstitutional,” read part of the report.
The County Allocation of Revenue Bill cannot also not be passed by the Senate since its approval is based on the Division of Revenue Act.
However close sources within the National Assembly point at a possibility of rejection of the mediation committees report saying the funds initially allocated were enough.
The National Assembly is set to debate the Bill next week.