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Parliament rejects Sh29bn counties allocation

Parliament on Tuesday rejected a Sh29 billion increase in counties’ allocation in the next financial year as requested by Senate.

The MPs unanimously in rejecting the Senate’s amendments. A committee from both Houses will need to hammer a compromise position.

The Senate had voted to increase the amount to counties from Sh323.7 billion to Sh352.8 billion.

The equitable share was increased from Sh291 billion approved by the National Assembly to Sh314 billion.

Also, the conditional allocations — money meant for specific functions — had been increased from Sh32.6 billion to Sh38.1 billion.

But the Budget committee headed by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi had voted against the increase in the last Budget.

“They are already misusing whatever they have been given; it is totally unacceptable; it is totally immoral. We must say No,” said Mr Musyimi before the vote was called.
With MPs bristling to vote, Speaker Justin Muturi said: “Whichever way you vote, you can only prolong mediation”.

AGREEMENT STRUCK

The Budget Committee set the stage for the contest that was avoided last year by having an agreement struck before the Division of Revenue Bill was drafted by Treasury and taken to Parliament for consideration.

Last week, Mr Musyimi said the amendments by senators would mean that the share of revenue due to the national government is reduced by Sh23.53 billion. The Senate was criticised for appearing to be insensitive to the current economic slowdown.

Mr Musyimi said the increase would have to be supported by evidence of new functions having been transferred to the counties, a review of how efficiently the money is used, and an assessment of how well they collect their own revenue.

“If the Senate were fair to this country, its committee on Public Accounts would churn out weekly reports on misappropriation of county funds,” said Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo.

“We are not getting sufficient revenues from county governments,” said Mr Musyimi.

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