, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has pleaded with Senators to help him have a stake in the revenue collected in the county from the tourism sector.
Samboja made the plea on Tuesday before a parliamentary committee as he admitted that the county was grappling with pending bills amounting to Sh843 million from the previous regime.
He said 63 per cent of the land in the county is under the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and decried that his administration does not receive any penny from the revenues earned through the sector.
Appearing before the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) over audit queries raised by the Auditor General for the financial year 2014/2015, Samboja disclosed that his office was initiating a petition seeking to have KWS compelled to remit some of the funds it gets from tourists who visit the county.
He told members of the Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay)-led committee that the county was straining financially and that the little amount of money it collected was being used to pay salaries to county workers.
“This is an issue we have raised with the Tourism Cabinet Secretary but even as we do that we are also seeking the Senate’s intervention on this matter because it will go a long way in helping the county improve its revenue collection,” Samboja said.
Senators Ledama Olekina (Narok) and Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga) concurred with Samboja noting that it will only be fair if the county gets a share of the revenue from the Tsavo.
The first time governor conceded that the issue of the wage bill in the county had made it difficult for his administration to launch developmental projects hence made it clear that the revenue collected from KWS, if given part of it would come in handy.
Samboja said of about Sh320 million in the last financial year as equitable share, Sh184 million goes to salaries and wages which he said goes to operations, maintenance and to development of the county.
On a bright side, the County Chief told the Senators that his administration had increased the revenue collected from Sh170 million in 2016/2017 in the last fiscal year to Sh202 million in the last financial year 2017/2018, a 18 per cent growth.
“My administration is doing everything it can to have revenues collected improve so that as a county we can enhance more developments,” he said.