Senators to meet governors over revenue Bill

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to meet governors, speakers of county assemblies over a Bill that determines the amount of funds allocated for devolved functions in the 47 counties.

The Wednesday meeting that will include officials from the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) comes in the wake of complaints by governors that county governments were short-changed in the Division of Revenue Bill that is now before the Senate.

The governors want the Senate to re-consider the equitable share for the 2017/18 financial year that they said is inadequate.

MPs in the National Assembly reduced the equitable share from Sh299.1 billion that Treasury had proposed, to Sh291.1 billion

The CRA proposed that devolved units be allocated sharable revenue of Sh331.6 billion and the Senators will be keen to understand how they arrived at the figure.

If Senators fail to agree with the National Assembly’s figure, the Bill will be subjected to a mediation committee of equal members from each House, to strike a compromise, before it is presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta for assent.

The Senate will also have to approve the County Allocation of Revenue Bill that divides among the counties the revenue allocated to them.

Without the two Bills that decide the vertical and horizontal sharing of funds between the two levels of government, county functions would grind to a halt, because they cannot spend any funds.

The committee is also expected to seek the views of the new CRA commissioners over a move to set maximum amounts that counties, can spend, at a given time from their budgetary allocations.

The county officials have termed the budget ceilings as unconstitutional saying county assemblies cannot effectively discharge their oversight roles if they cannot be allowed to control their expenditure.

They said it was unfair to treat counties as lesser entities by subjecting them to financial guidelines that don’t apply to the national government.

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