Governors have thrown their weight behind the proposal to freeze implementation of the disputed revenue sharing formula until the counties vote is increased to Sh348 billion.
The governors support a proposal by Nominated Senator Petronilla Were that counties continue with the expired second generation formula that shared out Sh316.5 billion until they receive an additional Sh31.5 billion from the exchequer. The proposal is said to have the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
The formula differs from the one fronted by Senator Mithika Linturi, and which has the backing of Deputy President William Ruto.
Linturi’s formula proposes to cap the equitable share at Sh270 billion and the difference of Sh46.5 billion be subjected to the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) sharing formula.
The proposal backed by the governors will ensure that no county losses funds. However, a closer scrutiny of the formula shows that nine counties stand to lose more than Sh2.5 billion, with Mandera leading with losses of Sh1.3 billion.
Were’s proposal differs from that of Senator Johnson Sakaja in that while Sakaja’s sought to retain the status quo and cap the baseline at the Sh316.5 billion allocated in the last budget and the current one, with amounts over and above the figure pegged on the CRA proposal, Were’s additional figure is clearly defined at Sh31.5 billion.
Ahead of today’s crucial vote, the Council of Governors (CoG) has officially voiced its support for the Were formula.
The council’s chairman, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, called on the divided Senate to adopt the amendments by Were so that counties can begin to receive shareable revenue.
“I am told there is a proposal by Senator Were which is proposing more money to the counties. This means all counties will be cushioned. It is the proposal that we support as governors,” said Oparanya.
“I plead with the senators that it is their responsibility to pass County Allocation of Revenue Act with the amendments by Were that will now ensure we get Sh348 billion instead of Sh316.5 billion,” he said.
Oparanya has in the past come under fire from fellow governors for not taking a position in the row on the best revenue sharing formula.
“What we want as counties is money. The counties need the money to provide services and to pay staff salaries. I speak on behalf of my colleagues even though we have not had the full council meeting to endorse the same,” he said.
Oparanya said counties were staring at a financial crisis because they are yet to receive funds from the national government for the months of July and August.
According to Oparanya, funds for June which have since been released by National Treasury, are yet to be received by some counties due to technical hitches with the Integrated Financial Management Information System.
He said even if there would be no money to implement the Sh348 billion immediately, counties should still be able to get 10 per cent of funding using the second generation formula until the additional money is made available.
Oparanya called for a permanent solution to perennial delays in releasing funds to counties.
“Since the advent of devolution, there has never been a single year where we have moved from one financial year to another seamlessly,” he said.
Uhuru and Raila’s allies have been pushing for the CRA formula that would have seen counties with big populations allocated more than those with lower populations.
This has seen 25 senators from the losing counties and their supporters ganging up under the banner of ‘One Kenya’ to reject the CRA formula.
Ruto has remained consistent in his push for a win-win situation.
“The emerging consensus on the revenue formula where populous counties receive reasonable increase while the others make major savings from otherwise huge loses is a big stride in pursuit of a win-win outcome. A united and patriotic Senate will deliver the solution,” Ruto stated in a tweet. Now the three leaders, Uhuru, Ruto and Raila seem to have abandoned the divisive recommendations by the Finance committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru in which 29 counties stood to gain, while 18 lost substantially.
Under the CRA proposal, 22 counties stand to gain more revenue share, while 25 counties, mainly in areas perceived to be marginalised, stand to lose.
After sensing defeat following the aborted past eight attempts to unlock the impasse on the third generation formula, Uhuru and Raila wings appear to have changed tack and are now supporting Were’s formula.
Were moved an amendment last Tuesday seeking the House approval to continue with the second generation revenue formula until the government, through the executive, is able to increase the amount of allocation to counties to Sh348 billion.
Senators Ochillo Ayacko, James Orengo, Irungu Kang’ata, Samuel Poghisio, Njeru Ndwiga, Sam Ongeri, and Moses Kajwang’ have backed the Were proposal, saying it ensures that no county loses.
The formula has also received support from Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), which described it as “reasonable and fairly acceptable solution” to mend the stalemate.
“As a party we stand for a rational formula that shall help end the deadlock for the benefit of all counties. We therefore support the amendment proposition tabled by ANC nominated Senator Petronilla Were, whose contents seek to unlock the ongoing impasse and provide a way forward,” said Musalia in a statement.
‘Team Kenya’ championed by senators Sakaja, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Kipchumba Murkomen, Kithure Kindiki, Aaron Cheruiyot and Cleophas Malala has vowed to support Linturi’s formula amid claims of threats, intimidation and harassment.
Yesterday, Kang’ata, who is also Majority whip, warned colleagues against supporting Linturi’s proposal, saying some counties stood to lose millions.
But Team Kenya has maintained the losses are minimal compared to those under the ‘one shilling-one man-one vote’ formula.