Kenya: Women Add Voice On Revenue Sharing Debate

Parliament in session (file photo).
18 August 2020

Whatever formula they use, the leaders want a guaranteed allocation of five per cent for women, not diverted to other projects

Female legislators have weighed in on the ongoing county revenue sharing formula debate.

So far, eight attempts by senators to agree on it have not been successful.

Counties are currently receiving funds based on specific parameters under the second generation formula. These parameters include population (45 per cent), equal share (25 per cent), poverty (20 per cent), land area (eight per cent) and fiscal responsibility (two per cent).

The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has, however, proposed a third base sharing formula in which counties would receive funds on adjusted percentages broken down into more parameters.

RURAL POPULATION

That is, based on uninsured population in-patient days equivalent outpatient visits, a county would receive 15 per cent of the national revenue, rural population (10 per cent), population in need of access to clean drinking water (three per cent) and urban population (three per cent).

Others are county population (18 per cent), equal share (20 per cent), land area (8 per cent), county road network (three per cent) and poverty (15 per cent).

County revenue collection revenue collections (two per cent) and fiscal prudence (three per cent) are also among the parameters.

The senators, however, seem not to agree on appropriate formula of sharing out the at least 15 per cent shared from the national kitty to the counties.

NATIONAL TREASURY

Early in the week, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja proposed that the Sh316.5 billion be shared equally among the 47 counties. Counties are to receive Sh316.5 billion from the national Treasury in the 2020/21 financial year.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi, however, introduced an amendment that Sh270 billion is shared equally while the remaining Sh46.5 billion is shared based on CRA formula, an amendment that the senators approved.

They are yet to vote in the agreed formula, and a Senate session held yesterday yielded little with the Senate agreeing to establish a 12-member committee to craft a consensus on the revenue sharing formula. The committee comprises of only one woman, Senator Susan Kihika.

Nominated Senator Petronila Were has proposed that the second generation formula be retained in sharing out the Sh316.5 billion from the National Treasury in the current financial year.

LOSERS AND GAINERS

Her proposals are among those the Senators are considering as they seek to find a workable formula.

"Let us continue with the second generation formula until (when) the government can give additional funds which adds up to 35 per cent. And with that amount we will not have any losers and gainers," Ms Were told the Nation.

The nominated Senator said little resources allocated to the counties have caused a crisis in terms of inefficient delivery of devolved services.

"We have a crisis in the counties because funds did not follow (devolved) functions. That is why we have a challenge in the health sector. We should be pushing for more funds for the counties," she said.

Nominated Senator Mary Seneta is of the view that an amicable solution should be found so that the gap between the winners and the losers is little.

50 PER CENT

"CRA formula is very important and that is why the senators are taking time to agree because this is something that will take years," Ms Seneta said.

"You cannot hurry and then it comes to hound your county for so long," she added.

She proposes that the national Treasury releases some 50 per cent of the monies to the counties to sustain their operations while the Senators find a way out.

In her view, land and population should be given an equal percentage.

"For instance, when it comes to an allocation to roads; when you are building a three kilometre road in a county like Kiambu, it will be used by very many people," she says.

She also has a varying view on allocation depending on patients visiting hospitals.

HEALTH ALLOCATIONS

"We have counties that have already been developed in terms of roads, water and hospitals and others that have not...then we say we will allocate the money according to the number of patients who attend the hospitals, that would have disadvantaged them," she notes.

Health allocation should be equal and not based on the level of a health facility, according to her.

"The major victims of lack of health facilities are women and children," she says.

She adds: "Gender issues are issues we have raised not once, not twice. And the debate is actually in consideration of the gender issues."

Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa) chairperson Gathoni Wamuchomba, however, holds a different view grounded on proposals to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) under the Common Women Agenda recommendations.

VULNERABLE GROUP

"Whatever revenue sharing formula they use, let us have a guaranteed allocation of five per cent for women, another five per cent for persons with disabilities and five per cent for the vulnerable like the elderly and vulnerable children," she says.

She says women want that the national Treasury shares at least 35 per cent of the revenue up from the current 15 per cent, but with the clause that 15 per cent is shared equally among the special interest categories.

"We have had a lot of money coming to our counties but it is diverted to development projects," she says.

"Money meant for socio-economic issues that touches on women and their livelihoods is being diverted to other projects like roads. So we want to make sure that money meant for women issues is actually used for women issues."

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