SLASHED By SH9 BILLION

Reducing counties' cash will derail growth, says MCA

Magenche ward representative Ogugu says people at the grassroots will be hardest hit

In Summary

• Instead of reducing funds to counties by a whooping Sh 9 billion, the government should task county chiefs to account on how they have been spending money allocated in the past financial years,” The leader of Majority added.

• He said that devolution came to benefit Kenyans at the grassroot level and thus the move to reduce allocations should rejected by all.

Lawmakers during the opening of the 11th Parliament.
Lawmakers during the opening of the 11th Parliament.
Image: MONICAH MWANGI

Reducing county allocations by Sh9 billion will negatively affect development, a Kisii MCA has said. 

Kisii county assembly Leader of majority Timothy Ogugu has faulted the National Assembly for supporting the Treasury’s decision to slash money allocated to devolved units.

The Magenche ward representative said devolution is supposed to benefit Kenyans at the grassroots and reduction of allocations to the counties should be rejected.

“County governments deserve an increase of funding. MPs should put their selfish interests aside for peoples' benefit,” Ogugu said during a church service in his ward.

He said the government should instead be more strict and ask governors to account for the cash they are given. 

Ogugu said county budgets have helped improve roads, health facilities, hire nurses and pay salaries. 

“Devolution will not work if we continue with the trend of reducing funds. MPs should understand that public interest comes first," Ogugu said.

The slashing of funds has put MPs on a collision course with senators and governors. Senators have opposed the plan.

On Tuesday last week, senators unanimously voted to amend the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019, to increase the base allocation of county governments' equitable share to Sh335.6 billion from Sh304 billion.

In the current financial year, the base was set at Sh314 billion, but the Treasury said this is no longer tenable because of revenue shortfalls.

 
 

Senators want the counties to receive Sh391 billion in the 2019-20 financial year, inclusive of the conditional allocation of Sh55.4 billion.

The grants include Sh4.3 billion for Level 4 hospitals, Sh2 billion for rehabilitation of polytechnics and Sh900 million for compensation of user fees forgone.

The stalemate implies that the bill will be headed for mediation, a process that may delay and further plunge counties into financial problems.

After amending the bill, the Senate referred it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration.