, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has defended the decision by the National Assembly to allocate Sh316 billion to counties in the new Division of Revenue Bill that was published on Tuesday.
The National Assembly had allocated Sh310 to counties but the figure was later revised following an outcry by counties with the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Senate proposing to figure reviewed upward to Sh335 billion.
Muturi said that the figure was arrived at, following an all-inclusive consultation with stakeholders.
He further refuted claims by senators that the House is in a mission to kill devolution.
“Devolution is provided for in the constitution and our work as the National Assembly is to divide revenue between the two levels and that is what we have been doing. Is that killing devolution? This is a matter that has been dealt with and we ensured that the counties were given not less than 15 percent of the revenue,” said Muturi on Thursday.
“I want to add this without any contradiction that we have been allocating more than 15 per cent because we support devolution and therefore, I do not understand where the problem is coming from.”
The Commission on Revenue Allocation had proposed a Sh335 billion allocation, a proposal backed by CoG and the Senate.
The Senate has repeatedly insisted that it has to give its input on the Bill with lawmakers in the National Assembly maintaining that there are solely responsible for the passage of the Bill.
Senators on Thursday morning walked to the Milimani Law Courts where they filed a suit challenging twenty Bills that they say were passed by the National Assembly without their concurrence including the Division of Revenue Bill.
The High Court referred the case to Chief Justice David Maraga who will constitute a three-judge bench to hear the application.
Justice Weldon Korir said the suit raised substantive constitutional issues that needed to be reviewed by a bench.
Justice Korir certified the case filed on Thursday as urgent after Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki said the Senate cannot transact business before the dispute is resolved.
“The Senate is an important institution with that should be involved in the budget making role in the country,” the Senate argued in suit papers.
The Council of Governors (C0G) Monday filed a petition at the Supreme Court over the same matter.
“Very few counties have passed their budgets and quite a number have not passed their budgets because of this issue of division of revenue as they don’t know a figure to work with and it’s because of this frustration that we had to get redress from the Supreme Court,” said CoG Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.