NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – The Senate has bowed to pressure and agreed to reduce its proposed additional allocation to the Division of Revenue Bill from Sh7.7 billion to Sh3.3 billion as proposed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.
The office intervened in a bid to end the standoff which if not resolved will cripple the activities of the County and National Governments as they will not be able to access the required funds.
The Senate Finance and Budget committee Chairman Billow Kerrow decried the fact that the mediation process had taken so long (one month) stating that they had advised their team to relinquish the Sh4.4 billion contingency fund so as to save the allocations to Level 5 hospitals and salaries and allowances for County Governments.
“The Senate had proposed increments to three areas, Level 5 hospitals (Sh1.5b), emergencies and other contingencies (4.4b) and additional salaries for the County Governments (1.7b),” said Kerrow.
He said the allocation to Level 5 hospitals was crucial as most had been affected by the cash crunch in the counties while most of the emergency situations were addressed by the counties.
“Calamities for instance floods, droughts and accidents which require special interventions have forced counties to dip into the development funds, this negatively impacts other areas relying on the funding,” explained Kerrow.
He added that review of the terms of the County Governments by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission put the cost at Sh12.5 billion. The Bill provided for only Sh4.5billion and the counties had to provide for the remained through the shareable revenue, this would affect other areas as the money has specific functions.
“We made an adjustment to raise the Sh4.5 billion to bring the amount to Sh6.5 billion so that the National government raises the rest,” Kerrow added.
The Bill is one of the most crucial laws for the Senate because it determines the sharing of revenue between the National and Count Governments and to this end this is the Senates’ greatest responsibility, to ensure county governments are adequately funded.
It is the second time the Bill is going into mediation. Last year, a dispute ensued between the two Houses but in the end, counties were allocated Sh226 billion as shareable revenue.
Kerrow also pointed out that the Parliamentary Budget Committee had proved that there was enough money in Treasury to accommodate their proposals as some devolved functions despite being devolved were still under the national government.
Speaking on the floor of the House mediation committee chairman Mutava Musyimi expressed confidence in the deadlock being resolved.
The mediation committee members are Senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Mutahi Kagwe (Nyeri) and Beatrice Elachi (Nominated) and National Assembly members Mutava Musyimi (Mbeere South), Mary Emase (Teso South) and Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka).