Economy

MPs end budget row, give counties Sh302bn

Parliament must first approve the Division of Revenue Bill to pave the way for passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Parliament must first approve the Division of Revenue Bill to pave the way for passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A meditation committee of the National Assembly and the Senate has reached a deal on the amount of cash to be allocated counties, ending a three-month stalemate that threated to halt county operations next month.

The team agreed to allocate the 47 counties Sh302 billion, striking a middle ground that sets the stage for approval of an amended Division of Revenue Bill.

The Senate on Tuesday rejected the Bill developed by the National Assembly that allocated devolved units Sh291 billion for the next financial year.

The Senators have stuck to the Sh314 billion it proposed in an earlier Bill that collapsed at the first mediation process, throwing county operations into a crisis.

Parliament must first approve the Division of Revenue Bill to pave the way for passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill that determines how much each county gets.

Failure to have the legislation in place meant that counties cannot proceed to prepare their annual budgets.

The law allows the Controller of Budget to authorise withdrawal of funds by counties based on the passage of their respective county budgets.

“The Mediation Committee therefore recommends that the county equitable share be allocated Sh302 billion for the financial year 2017/2018,” noted the mediation committee report tabled in Parliament on Thursday.

Speaker Justin Muturi on Wednesday named four members of the National Assembly to sit with four other Senators appointed by the Senate to develop an agreed version of the stalled Bill.

Mutava Musyimi, Mary Emase, Christopher Omulele and Richard Onyonka represented the National Assembly. Senate was represented by Billow Kerrow, Beatrice Elachi, Dr Agnes Zani and Mutula Kilonzo Junior.

Governors have threatened to go to court to challenge a law that allows the Treasury to allocate government ministries money, terming it unconstitutional because it did have the input of the Senate.

The Council of Governors in a statement Thursday said the Appropriation Act ignored the input of the senators.