Raila Odinga: This is how we will resolve counties revenue standoff

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What you need to know:

  • A significant number of senators have defied party and regional loyalties to oppose the formula.
  • Mr Odinga said when he released the statement last week, he had not been fully briefed about changes made to the formula.
  • There should be a renewed push to fully devolve functions like health, Mr Odinga said.

The implementation of the new revenue sharing plan should be delayed until more resources are allocated to counties and a win-win deal is reached, Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga now says.

The ODM leader had earlier urged senators to adopt for the next five years the formula proposed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA).

Mr Odinga told the Nation that it is time to go back to the drawing board while implementing the current formula to ensure counties get the amount they received in the last financial year.

“We should not be talking about winners and losers. It should be a win-win situation,” the ODM leader said yesterday.

Speaking a day after senators, for the seventh time, failed to agree on the third generation revenue allocation formula on Tuesday and adjourned to give room for negotiation, Mr Odinga said it is prudent not to implement anything that would disadvantage some regions.

Under pressure

The ODM leader has, in recent weeks, come under pressure from allies — especially from the Coast and northeast Kenya — who feel he has betrayed them by supporting the new formula that would take away billions of shillings from 19 counties.

On the other hand, some of Mr Odinga’s Jubilee allies, mostly from Mt Kenya, have questioned his party’s commitment to his March 9, 2018 handshake with President Kenyatta.

However, a significant number of senators have defied party and regional loyalties to oppose the formula.

Not fully briefed

Mr Odinga said when he released the statement last week, he had not been fully briefed about changes made to the formula by a Senate committee after he returned from the United Arab Emirates.

He added that to avoid a standoff like the one being witnessed,  the government should allocate more money to devolved governments — at least 15 per cent from the current 10.

“Allocation has stuck at Sh316.5 billion in a Sh3 trillion economy. We speak of 35 per cent in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI),” he said.

Mr Odinga added that marginalising some regions, particularly the Coast and Northeastern, started in colonial Kenya and continued after independence when a decision was made to allocate more resources to areas deemed to be more productive than others.

That, he said, should not be allowed to continue under the 2010 Constitution, which initiated devolution and created CRA and other institutions.

The delicate balancing act, he said, is not to hold back areas that are more developed “by forcing them to mark time” but at the same time, not leaving behind those that have historically been marginalised.

Equity in sharing resources

“What we are talking about is not equality but equity in sharing resources,” the ODM boss added.

There should be a renewed push to fully devolve functions like health, Mr Odinga said.

He pointed out that other than population size and land mass that have been the subject of debate, the commission should not ignore activities around pastoralism in the northeast and the blue economy in the Coast and lake region.

The controversial third criteria for sharing revenue among counties was tabled in the Senate on April 30 and committed to the House Committee on Finance and Budget.

The formula was developed by CRA, recommending the basis for equitable sharing of revenue between the national and county governments, and among counties.

The recommendations were then forwarded to Parliament for consideration and approval.

CRA based the formula on Health services which was assigned 17 per cent weight, Agriculture (10 per cent), other county services (18 per cent), Basic share (20 per cent), land (eight per cent), roads (four per cent), poverty level (14 per cent), urban services (five per cent), fiscal effort (two per cent) and fiscal prudence (two per cent).

Amendments

The Committee on Finance made some amendments to the percentages.

However, the proposal has been opposed by Northeastern and Coast leaders who argue that the commission placed too much weight on the population parameter.

Because they are not endowed with numbers, the leaders from those regions said, they stand to lose out on the allocation.

Mandera, Wajir and Marsabit would be the greatest losers if the plan is implemented.

Wajir will lose Sh1.9 billion, Mandera (Sh1.87) billion and Marsabit (Sh1.81 billion).

Other losers will be Tana River (Sh1.5 billion), Garissa (Sh1.2 billion), Mombasa (Sh1.02 billion), Kwale (Sh995 million), Narok (Sh887 million), Isiolo (Sh879 million) and Kilifi (Sh878 million).

Nandi would be the greatest winner with an expected additional allocation of Sh1.4 billion, Uasin Gishu (Sh1.28 billion), Nakuru (Sh1.26 billion), Kakamega (Sh997 million), Kiambu (Sh986 million), Bungoma (Sh837m), Kirinyaga (Sh779m), West Pokot (Sh777m), Baringo (Sh722 million) and Bomet (Sh673 million).

Senators Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos) and Sam Ongeri (Kisii) do not back the proposal even though their counties would gain a lot.

They argue that the unity of the country is more important [than their counties’ gain], and that they would prefer a situation where no county loses a shilling.


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