White smoke! Senators reach deal over revenue standoff

By Hillary Mageka On Thu, 17 Sep, 2020 14:07 | 2 mins read
Wetangula
The 12-member team that is tasked with breaking deadlock on row over revenue-sharing formula outside Parliament on August 26, 2020. PHOTO | HILLARY MAGEKA

The twelve-member Senate committee established to unlock the revenue sharing formula has made a breakthrough in the long-awaited search for an acceptable third basis of sharing revenue among counties.

The committee co-chaired by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and his Bungoma counterpart Moses Wetangula has reached a consensus and the formula will be tabled in the House on Thursday afternoon, September 17, for debate and possible adoption.

In the new formula, which was not readily available to People Daily, none of the 46 counties will lose a coin in their annual allocation.

The Senate Business Committee (SBC) has agreed to prioritize the revenue debate by amending the order to allow members to briefly attend an informal meeting better known as Speaker’s Kamukunji, where the Wetangula-Sakaja led team will appraise the House and how the Sh366.5 billion will be shared out in the next financial year 2021/2022.

After the Kamukunji, the matter will be put to debate and possibly voted on.

Read more: Uhuru, Raila charm senators with sweet Sh50bn deal

In a charm offensive earlier this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to raise next year’s county shareable revenue by Sh50 billion in a bid to make the senators more agreeable to pass the contentious revenue-sharing formula.

The pledge was made at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday, September 15, after President Kenyatta met the Senate leadership in a meeting attended by Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga and Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya.

However, Deputy President William Ruto was conspicuously missing even as President Kenyatta reiterated that the additional funds will go towards strengthening devolution in the country.

According to the Head of State, the increment in county equitable shareable revenue will, however, depend on the financial performance of the economy.

State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said the Senate was represented by Majority Leader Senator Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) and Majority Chief Whip Senator Irungu Kang’ata (Muranga).

The Minority leader Senator James Orengo (Siaya), Poghisio’s deputy nominated Senator Fatuma Dullo, nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka who doubles up as deputy minority whip and Taita Taveta Senator Mwashushe Mwaruma were also present.

“The President urged senators to urgently resolve the revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate so as to avoid disruption of service delivery in the counties,” Kanze said in a statement.

Following the President’s pledge to allocate additional funds for the financial year 2021/22, senators backed the contentious formula fronted by the House Committee on Finance.

“We have agreed to take the President’s word as we will pass the formula as proposed by the Committee on Finance and Budget. With the pledge, no county will lose any amount of its annual allocation,” a senator who spoke on anonymity told People Daily.

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