Kenya: Third Basis Formula Due for Record Seventh Senate Debate

Nairobi — Senators will for the seventh time on Tuesday afternoon attempt to approve the third generation basis for revenue sharing formula among counties whose enactment has been delayed by a six-month impasse.

Tuesday afternoon's sitting comes against the backdrop of a virtual meeting between the Senators led by Speaker Ken Lusaka, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani, Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango and Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) Chairperson Jane Kiringai.

The forum held on Monday discussed the possibility of amending the law to allow Treasury to disburse at least 50 per cent of the funds allocated to the counties in case the Senate stalemate persists.

CRA noted the existing gaps can only be bridged through an increase in the equitable share allocation to counties going forward.

The agency's head Kiringai said the new data arising from the 2019 population census has amplified the magnitude of the difference in allocations among counties.

Ruling Jubilee Party and opposition senators last Tuesday failed to end the stalemate over the CRA formula even after extending their sitting well into the night.

The Senators had earlier shot an amendment by Majority Leader Irungu Kang'ata and were in the process of deliberating on Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja's proposed amendments to the formula, which if adopted would be a win-win situation for all the counties.

Kang'ata wanted to delay the commencement of the proposed new formula.

Sakaja wants to retain the current revenue allocation formula for counties saying they are all in agreement that counties shouldn't lose money.

The stalemate has left the 47 devolved units facing an imminent cash crisis, a situation that risks affecting the delivery of crucial services.

Last Tuesday, a proposal to have the third basis formula for allocating funds to county governments deferred for two years failed after Senators voted against, Kanga'ata's amendments.

The report of the Finance and Budget Committee that considered the formula as developed by the CRA had recommended that the formula, which benefits counties with a large population and disadvantages those with huge land mass and smaller population, be applied from the 2021/22 financial year.

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