CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Counties to get 35% of national revenue in BBI proposal

Counties should be maintained as the focus of development implementation

In Summary

Devolved units are still frustrated by serious challenges that need to be addressed

All the 47 counties be retained but assisted to form voluntary regional economic blocks.

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga after receiving the BBI report on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga after receiving the BBI report on Tuesday, November 26, 2019.
Image: PSCU

The Building Bridges Initiative taskforce has proposed that counties be allocated 35 per cent of the national revenue.

Currently, the Constitution provides that at least 15 per cent be allocated to the devolved units. The national government is, however, at liberty to allocate more than 15 per cent of the national revenue to the counties.

“When dividing revenues between counties, use a formula that focuses on ensuring services reach the actual settlements of people so that resources are not allocated on the basis of inhibited landmass,” the BBI report reads.

 

The BBI task force presented the report to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday.

Present were Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other leaders.

While noting that devolution has largely been a success, the BBI team said devolved units are still frustrated by serious challenges that need to be addressed.

It further recommended that the 47 counties be retained but assisted to form voluntary regional economic blocs.

“While Kenyans are strong supporters of devolution and their counties, they also want better value for money and more money to be used for development as opposed to high recurrent and administrative costs,” the report says.

It says the 47 counties should be maintained as the focus of development and suggests that representation and legislation be undertaken at the regional level. 

The team has advised the national government to finalise the transfer of functions to counties and eliminate duplicity of functions between the two levels of government.

 

“Follow the maxim ‘money follows functions’ in allocating money between the two levels of government,” it adds. 

Currently, counties share revenue based on five parameters — population ( 45 per cent), equal share ( 25 per cent), poverty ( 20 per cent), land area (eight per cent) and fiscal responsibility (two per cent). However, the Commission on Revenue Allocation recently proposed a formula, which assigns health 17 per cent, agriculture ( 10 per cent), urbanisation levels (five per cent), road network (four per cent), land area (eight per cent), poverty ( 14 per cent), fiscal effort (two per cent), prudent use of public resources (two per cent), all other services ( 18 per cent) and equal share ( 20 per cent).

 

The counties are in charge of overseeing functions, which include the provision of healthcare, pre-primary education and maintenance of local roads. They are also expected to mobilise revenue from other sources such as taxes on property and entertainment.

The CRA is supposed to recommend to the National Assembly the basis for equitable sharing of revenues raised nationally. The commission decides how much revenue will be divided between the national government and the counties, and how much each county should receive in an equitable and fair manner.

(Edited by F'Orieny)