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Governors reject govt's offer of Sh316 billion counties' revenue

Tuesday July 16 2019

Governors and senators at top court

Governors, deputy governors and senators at the Supreme Court, where they filed a petition on the division of revenue bill on July 15, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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A new version of the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 has been published and is set to be introduced in the National Assembly on Tuesday next week when sittings resume after a short recess.

The bill has Sh316 billion as the equitable share for the 47 county governments, although the figure is likely to be contested by the Senate.

Besides that, the Council of Governors, in its response to the move, rejected the government's offer.

In a statement following the announcement, CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) said, "We refute the government's claims of an increase in the counties' share of revenue to Sh316 billion and insist on the Commission on Revenue Allocation's figure of Sh335 billion."

He said they would await the Supreme Court's ruling on the matter.

MEDIATION FLOP

The older version of the bill, which had Sh310 billion for counties, flopped at the mediation level of the National Assembly and Senate after the two Houses failed to agree on what the counties should get. 

Whereas National Assembly representatives in the mediation committee had agreed on Sh316 billion, a slight climb up from the Sh310 billion as published in the bill by the National Treasury, the Senate disagreed.

The Senate, after intense negotiations during mediation, settled for Sh327 billion, a drop from the Sh335 billion as recommended by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA).

CRA BLAMED

On Tuesday, National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale said the CRA is largely to blame for the impasse on the bill that has threatened the operations at the counties. 

“The commission has been making recommendations based on non-realisable revenues and has been wearing hats of the National Assembly and Senate by promising counties unrealistic figures and actually sitting on the division table and negotiating on the divisions,” the Garissa Town MP said.

“What's worse is that the commission appears to be continually inciting county governments against the national government as if counties are foreign to the State."

Mr Duale further said that the non-realisable revenues being proposed by the CRA will in the end hurt the national government.

This is because, where there is a shortfall in the collection of revenue, it is the national government that shall absorb the effects of the missed targets as the counties revenue is non-deductible.

GOVERNORS' PROTEST

The figure was revised upwards a day after governors moved to the Supreme Court to file a petition, led by Mr Oparanya and vice-chair Mwangi wa Iria (Murang'a).

The court said the case will be mentioned on July 19.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Oparanya said he was happy that the issue was given the urgency it deserves.

He said the bill has to be reintroduced in the National Assembly “as soon as possible”.