NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Deputy President William Ruto has told county governments that the country can only share revenue it has.
Ruto said the country could not share resources beyond its capacity.
“We should share real money. We cannot share what we do not have,” said the Deputy President.
He went on: “We cannot tell the people that we have money that we are borrowing. I must say that we are reluctant to continue borrowing monies.”
Speaking during a meeting of Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) held at his Karen office, Nairobi, Mr Ruto said the huge appetite for funds by county governments will burden the country with a lot of debt.
The Deputy President was responding to demands by county governments that they should be given allocation to the tune of 42 percent of the country’s revenue.
The National Treasury has proposed a 31 per cent share of the total shareable revenue.
Commission of Revenue Authority had proposed that the county governments get 35 per cent of the shareable revenue.
The meeting discussed the division of revenue for the next financial year, budget policy statement and transfer of devolved functions.
Ruto told county governments that the country was constrained in terms of the funds.
He said the Government was working on an austerity programme including managing what is available for the country to share.
“We should not allow our country to sink because of borrowing. We should live within our means,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President said since there was a difference between proposals by the Commission of Revenue Authority (CRA) and the National Treasury the matter would be referred to Parliament for resolution.
Ruto said the resolution reached by IBEC will provide a working document for Parliament.
“I am confident that they will put into consideration suggestions from this forum and reach consensus on how to share revenue,” he said.
“I urge for patience as we wait for Parliament to resolve this matter,” added Ruto.
The chairman of the Council of Governors Peter Munya said county governments were willing to accept a 35 percent increase.
He called for close working relations between the national and county governments in service delivery.
“We should take a common ground in sharing of revenues so that we have smooth running of programmes at the counties,” said Munya.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the revenue collection from county governments especially Pay As You Earn (PAYE) was difficult.
“It has become a challenge and efforts must be made to correct this situation,” Rotich told governors.
Chairman of CRA Micah Cheserem said there was need to observe austerity measures as far as allocation of resources were concerned.
“We cannot observe this when the national government is expanding and county governments are also expanding,” said Cheserem.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya said there was need to come up with amicable solution to the management of roads at both the national and county levels.
“There is need for the national government to disburse some funds to the counties to help in the construction and maintenance of rural roads,” said Mvurya who is also the vice chairman of Council of Governors.
The Deputy President said the national government would continue to work with the county governments in the spirit of consultation and coordination for the sake of development.
“I want to assure this meeting that the national government will continue to engage the county governments in the spirit of consultation and cooperation in service delivery to the people,” said Ruto
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, his Principal Secretary Mwanamaka Mabruki, Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo and a host of governors were also present.