• Governors say marginalised counties which will carry burden of new proposal
• Mandera's Roba says formula failed to address the fact that 70 per cent of the country consists of arid and semi-arid land
Governors from Northeastern have rejected the proposed revenue sharing formula terming it anti-devolution.
In its third generation revenue sharing formula, the Commission on Revenue Allocation has proposed disbursement of funds based on devolved functions.
This is a sharp departure from the first and second sharing formula where population, basic equal share, poverty, land area, development, personnel emolument and fiscal responsibility were the key parameters.
In CRA’s new proposal tabled in Senate on April 30, the commission assigned 17 per cent to health, agriculture (10 per cent), urbanisation levels ( 5 per cent), road network (4 per cent), land area (8 per cent), poverty (14 per cent), fiscal effort (2 per cent), prudent use of public resources (2 per cent), all other services (18 per cent) and equal share (20 per cent).
The commission argues the proposed formula will help in entrenching service delivery, balanced economic growth and county fiscal performance.
But appearing before the Senate Finance and Budget committee, Governor Ali Roba – who also chairs the Frontier Counties Development Council – poked holes in the formula, warning it risks clawing back the gains so far made by devolution.
FCDC comprises Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Lamu, Turkana, Samburu and West Pokot.
The formula, according to the governor, fails to allow the flexibility required by the county governments to allocate resources to where they are needed most thus will not address the aspirations of devolution.
He told the Senate team to reject the formula "for the sake of devolution and marginalised counties which will carry the punitive burden of the new proposal".
“According to the proposed recommendation, health parameter is based on the population visiting health facilities and variation in disease patterns. CRA failed to take into consideration the disparities in infrastructural needs, availability of medical equipment, health personnel and access to health services," Roba said.
He said it is in the public domain that not all counties have the same health infrastructure, personnel and capacity.
“Based on that, we are of the view that the counties that have been marginalised since 1965 because of the deliberate government policies continue to suffer immense disparity in terms of access to health if this parameter is implemented,” he said.
On agriculture, Roba said the formula failed to address the fact that 70 per cent of the landmass in the country consists of arid and semi-arid land. He said the commission clumped together all the 47 counties as having same conditions favourable for agricultural production.
Instead, the Mandera governor proposed retention of the second generation revenue-sharing formula with minimal amendments to deal with development disparities among counties.
“CRA must bear in mind at all times the massive economic disparities between counties and ensure that all proposals made are not just equal but equitable,” he noted.
Edited by R.Wamochie