Economy

Senators approve Sh385bn for counties

senate

Senate in session. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Counties will receive Sh385 billion as an equitable share in the next financial year after Senators allied to Kenya Kwanza voted to approve the Treasury proposal despite Opposition protests.

Thirty-three Senators approved the proposal after shooting down attempts to revise the amount to the Sh407 billion, which Azimio-allied Senators were pushing for.

Azimio’s position hinged on a report of the Senate Finance Committee, which had set the equitable share at Sh407 billion.

Read: Counties still struggling to collect own revenues

The committee had proposed an amendment to the Division of Revenue Bill 2023 from the National Assembly that contained Sh385 billion and change the schedule to Sh407 billion as had been proposed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

“Today indeed is a very dark day as far as devolution in this country is concerned. We have seen a situation on the floor of the Senate where Kenya Kwanza senators have conspired to deny funds to counties,” said Senate Deputy Minority Leader Enock Wambua.

The Treasury proposed an allocation of Sh385.4 billion to the counties, an increase of Sh15.4 billion from the current financial year’s allocation of Sh370 billion.

The National Assembly has agreed with the Treasury and approved the proposal as captured in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2023.

The Treasury’s proposed allocation to counties includes Sh425 million meant for 33 counties to perform library functions, now devolved.

The Division of Revenue Bill is a crucial piece of legislation that splits revenue collected nationally by the Kenya Revenue Authority between national and county governments.

In the Bill, the Treasury proposed an allocation of Sh2.15 trillion or 87.4 per cent of the projected national revenues, to the National Government.

Read: Counties yet to get Sh109bn in Treasury funds

Governors had demanded Sh425 billion a figure that the National Government said was unrealistic in light of financial constraints facing the exchequer.

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