NAIROBI, Kenya July 23 – A cash crisis is looming in counties after Senators on Thursday failed to reach a consensus, for a record fourth time, on the third basis for revenue allocation among counties.
Speaker Ken Lusaka had convened the special sitting to allow the Senate reach a consensus on the contentious formula which was proposed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) on sharing cash among the 47 counties.
With the agenda of the session clearly stipulated in the order paper, the sitting’s mission suffered a setback from the onset after the mover of the motion failed to appear in the Chamber forcing Speaker Lusaka to re-organize the order paper.
The Senate then dispensed with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill, the County Tourism Bill and the Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill after which House Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio requested for the sitting’s adjournment on account of unpreparedness.
“Now that the mover of the motion is not here, my request would be that we consider adjourning to a later date so that we make conclusions on the matter,” he said.
The request was followed by angry chants from Senators who expressed dismay on the lack of commitment from the side of Poghisio and the Senate Finance Committee.
Speaker Lusaka however, proceeded to adjourn the session to next week Tuesday, a decision that promoted a backlash in the Senate.
“Shame! Shame! Shame!” disgruntled Senators chanted in unison.
“This is a matter of great concern and therefore I want to ask the chair of the Finance Committee to hasten this process because it is taking exceedingly long and he must provide leadership,” Lusaka interjected.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr took to his social media account vowing to lobby for Lusaka’s impeachment.
“We should impeach Speaker Lusaka for adjourning the Senate unlawfully! Bure! (nonsense),,” he protested.
With no formula in place to distribute the Sh316 billion allocated to the counties in the 2020/2021 financial year, the devolved units are staring at a cash crisis that risks grounding crucial services to a halt.
Senators have on numerous sittings failed to resolve the impasse despite the ongoing consultations that also drew both President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga who sought to broker a truce albeit unsuccessfully.
In the proposed formula by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee, 19 counties drawn from the North, Coast and Lower Eastern counties risk losing a cumulative of Sh42 billion while 28 counties stand to gain, a disparity that has been the bone of contention.
The proposed formula puts a premium on each county’s population with devolved units with huge populations set to be major beneficiaries and those with small population risk losing billions of shillings.
Mandera County leads in the counties that are set to lose monies at Sh2 billion followed by Wajir, Kwale and Kilifi which are set to lose Sh1.4 and 1.2 billion respectively.
Marsabit stands to lose Sh984 million, Narok Sh853 million, Mombasa Sh682 million, Makueni and Nyamira stands to lose over 500 million while Tana River and Tharaka Nithi also earmarked to lose millions.
Counties set to gain include Kiambu which will be awarded Sh1.3 billion, Nairobi at Sh1.2 billion, Uasin Gishu at Sh983 million, Nandi, Kajiado and Nakuru will gain about Sh700 million shillings, Laikipia and Tranz Nzoia will gain over Sh600 million.
Other counties set to gain include Kirinyaga, Baringo, Bomet, West Pokot, Kakamega, West Pokot, Bungoma, Machakos and Embu counties.
Governors will be keen to see if the formula whose impasse has stalled approval of the County Allocation of Revenue (CAR) Bill, 2020 will be passed next week on Tuesday.
The bill provides for the allocation of revenue raised nationally and conditional allocations among county governments for the financial year 2019/2020 as well as the transfer of the county allocations from the Consolidated Fund to the
Article 217 of the Constitution stipulates that the revenue-sharing formula be reviewed every five years.