It’s a breakthrough, Senate committee on revenue sharing formula announces

A new formula for sharing revenue among counties could be in place by next week after a Senate committee formed to broker a deal on the contentious formula announced a breakthrough.

The 12-member team made the announcement on Wednesday after eight days of intense negotiations on the third basis for sharing the national cake among the 47 devolved units.

 The panel however declined to disclose the contents of the final formula they have agreed citing standing orders that bars it from making the disclosure.

“We will not and we are not allowed by standing orders of the house to divulge the contents of the report until it is presented to the speaker and it finds its way to the house,” committee co-chair Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) said.

Instead, Wetang’ula said the committee will on Thursday present its determination, in form of a report to the house leadership led by speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

“For the week and a day that we have been meeting, we have made tremendous progress. We are getting to the final bend to take the dash home, so to speak,” the Ford Kenya leader said.

The team was formed last Monday following a protracted standoff in the House on the formula that will determine how the counties share the Sh316.5 billion allocated to them in the 2020-21 budget.

The Senate has failed in nine sittings to approve the formula after a section of the lawmakers whose counties were set to lose money in the proposal, rejected it.

In the dispute formula proposed by the house Finance and Budget Committee, 18 counties were losing Sh17 billion from their last year’s allocation.

 Briefing journalists at Parliament Buildings on Wednesday, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja who co-chaired the committee with Wetang’ula, said they reached a determination after considering all the proposals presented to the committee.

“We have looked at all the options that we have had before us and all of those that were proposed by our colleagues and ourselves. And we are confident to say when we look at each other as one indivisible country, then a solution is nigh,” Sakaja said.

Once the house leadership endorses the committee’s report, the speaker shall gazette a special sitting of the Senate next week to approve the formula and end months of push and pull.

The passage of the formula will unlock the passage of County Allocation of Revenue Bill (CARA) that splits among counties the Sh316.5 billion set aside for them in the budget.

Failure to pass CARA has placed the counties in a quagmire as they were unable to access money from the Treasury.

But the committee reiterated that the standoff that has persisted in the Senate over the formula has not affected operations in the counties after the Treasury agreed to release up to 50 per cent of the total allocations to the counties.

“Any stories from counties that they are truncated and incapacitated and made difficult to work because the Senate has not passed the formula is not true. They are accessing money from the Treasury and the Supreme Court ruled as such,” Wetang’ula said.

Senators; Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), John Kinyua (Laikipia), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Steward Madzayo (Kilifi) and Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay) are members of the committee.

Others are Ledama Ole Kina (Narok), Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni, Anuar Loitiptip (Lamu) and Mohamed Mahamud (Mandera).

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