MPs query funding gap for assemblies
Posted Sunday, June 24 2012 at 16:37
The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has been asked to come up with clear criteria that will guide the funding of the 47 county assemblies.
Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gichohi says there is no law that spells out how the county parliament would be funded. They become operational after the next general election.
Mr Gichohi said county assemblies must control their own budgets for devolution as indicated in Chapter 11 of the Constitution to be realised.
“I have gone through all Acts of Parliament including the Constitution and I am yet to see how county assemblies will be funded,” he told an MPs’ conference called to discuss planning for county assemblies on Friday.
Mr Gichohi said the assemblies must control own finances through County Assembly Service Board — an equivalent of Parliamentary Service Commission — if they were to succeed in discharging mandate of watching over the county governments.
“Funding for the devolved assemblies must be clearly spelt out. I do not know if they will draw their funding from its share of the 26 per cent of total resources sent to all the 47 counties,” he said. “We must be clear under the law that 10 per cent of the funds devolved to counties must go to the assemblies.”
He said the percentage settled “must be ring-fenced for use by assemblies directly to make them function effectively.”
Mr Gichohi said enormous resources will be required to operationalise the assemblies, including the wage bill. “There is an urgent need to map facilities in the counties. We need to know where the chamber will be, the Speaker and the Clerk’s residences among others,” he added.
Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim said the National Assembly is grossly understaffed to meet the needs of increased number of MPs and the coming into force of the 68-member Senate.
“We will need serious infrastructural development in the counties given that current municipal or county halls are insufficient to host the local assemblies,” he told the gathering attended by representatives of counties.
Parliament’s local Authorities Committee chairman David Ngugi decried the underfunding of Transitional Authority, saying the Sh200 million set aside for its operations is insufficient.
“The work given to the authority is enormous. The authority will be required to hire consultants and valuers among others to audit the assets of the 175 councils,” he said.
MPs Isaac Rutto and David Njuguna queried the Treasury’s preparedness to ensure devolution takes off after the March 4, 2013 general elections.
“How prepared are the counties to host the assembly, governors and other staff once elections are concluded? Is the Treasury ready?” Mr Rutto asked.