Raila Supports Population-driven Revenue Sharing Formula, Tells Senators To End Stand-off

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) greets opposition leader Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition after addressing a news conference at the Harambee house office in Nairobi, Kenya March 9, 2018. [Photo/Courtesy]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has drummed up support for the county revenue sharing formula as proposed by the  Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA).

In a hard-hitting statement on Monday, the former Prime Minister called on Senators to end stand-off witnessed in the past few days and allow the implementation of the population driven sharing formula.

Odinga faulted the Senate for failing to agree on its own amendments on CRA’s recommendations.

The standoff had threatened Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pet project, Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Odinga called on the Senators to adopt the CRA’s recommendations for five years and forward their concerns to the authority for future considerations.

“The key principle in the CRA recommendation on the third basis for revenue sharing for the next five financial years is that allocation should be population-driven. The CRA recommendation is based on an understanding that county governments are about service requirements of the population including in health, agriculture, infrastructure,education, among others.

Read: The Ongoing Revenue Formula Debate is Unnecessarily Divisive – DP William Ruto

“The Senate made certain amendments to the CRA recommendation but equally retained the central principle that allocation must be about the population. Unfortunately, the institution has disagreed on its own amendments.

“Under the circumstances, the country and our people would better served if we adopted the recommendation of the CRA for the next five years.”

Odinga further noted that counties must be encouraged to raise “own-source revenues from the economic activities within the county and demanding a prudent usage of those resources.”

Ending the current stand-off, the ODM chief said, will allow the nation focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

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“This stand-off is causing paralysis and mistrust at a time the country needs to be united and singularly focused on tackling the grave pandemic currently threatening the lives and livelihoods of our people. It has also taken a dangerous ethnic undertone instead of being a level-headed debate on the nation’s development trajectory, ” said Odinga.

“…The resources currently being recommended can adequately serve our counties if we eliminate corruption in addition to heavily punishing those perpetuating the vice both at the national and county levels. Luckily, the war on corruption is yielding fruits and should safeguard public finances.”

Deputy President William Ruto had also voiced his concerns earlier stating that the revenue debate is “unnecessarily divisive”.

Ruto called on Parliament to work on a win-win formula that will not hurt any county.

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The senators have been divided on the formula for revenue division among counties, with some proposing that the division should be in proportion to landmass, while others want the revenue divided according to population.

It is reported that at least 30 senators are in support of a motion by Nairobi’s Johnson Sakaja seeking to ensure no county gets reduced allocation based on the third formula that will see regions that have been receiving a higher allocation because of their huge landmass and high poverty indices, get less.

Last week, Murang’a Senator and the Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kanga’ta threatened to mobilise political leaders from Mt Kenya region to oppose BBI report if the new formula proposed by the CRA is not passed.

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“For us we have made the decision that on Tuesday no passage of the formula no BBI ,” said Kang’ata.

On Thursday, July 23, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka was forced to adjourn a sitting that had been convened to discuss the proposal after it became clear the formula was going to be shot down.

Senators from counties that will lose in the proposal by CRA have vowed to shoot down the motion, and it remains a matter of wait and see in the Senate sitting st for Tuesday, July 28.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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