Counties given Sh22b more as MPs’ term ends

Nominated Senator Agnes Zani is a member of the mediation committee that struck the deal. (Photo: Edward Kiplimo, Standard)

MPs Thursday gave county administrations an additional Sh22 billion as the 11th Parliament’s term came to a busy end Thursday.

The National Assembly and the Senate had for months been engaged in sibling rivalry over how much cash should be allocated to the counties and it took the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to unlock the deadlock.

On one side, the National Assembly was trying to arm-twist the Senate into approving Sh323 billion to the counties for the 2017-18 financial year. But senators called their counterparts’ bluff and pushed for Sh352 billion, leading to the impasse.

Though Thursday’s deal fell short of the Sh29 billion additional funds sought by Senate that saw mediation talks stall and the crucial Division of Revenue (DoR) 2017 collapse, the new Bill has achieved more. Counties will now receive Sh302 billion equitable share of revenue and Sh43 billion conditional allocation in the next financial year.

The Senate leadership turned to the Jubilee administration to avert a financial crisis after the former once again rejected National Assembly’s additional Sh11 billion to counties, vowing to cripple the process until its demands were met.

“We have reached a deal. It is more than what the National Assembly had approved,” Nominated Senator Agnes Zani, a member of the mediation committee that struck the deal, told The Standard Thursday.

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National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) also confirmed the deal, saying: “We have finally agreed to give counties Sh302 billion although we know governors are going to eat that money.”

At the same time, with a number of constitutional Bills pending before the bicameral House, the Eleventh Parliament was very busy on its last day of business before hitting the campaign trail to seek a fresh mandate.

According to Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), the House received 52 bills from the National Assembly for concurrence of which 37 were passed while 15 are yet to be concluded. In the National Assembly, a total of 180 Bills were passed from 2013, while 49 are being debated.

Pressing issues

By Thursday, the precincts of Parliament witnessed heightened activities as MPs turned up for their final sitting before they adjourned. However, they will still have special sittings for the passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill, the Division of Revenue Bill and other pressing issues.

The number of visitors within the MPs lounge was also unusually high as the legislators spent more time meeting their constituents rather than focusing on the business of their respective Houses.

The 11th Parliament failed to pass the crucial two thirds Gender Bill among others that will now be handled by the 12th Parliament, same to the election of the nine MPs to the East African Legislative Assembly.

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