• Ndii says county allocation should be based on the country's targets and cost of delivering services.
• Some 18 counties will lose Sh17 billion if the formula is passed by the Senate.
Former Nasa strategist David Ndii has asked the Senate to reject the disputed revenue sharing formula even as he took on President Kenyatta, accusing him of perpetuating inequity and colonialism.
The economist waded into the revenue standoff in the Senate, explaining that the proposed basis for sharing revenue among counties contravenes the principle of equity and fair sharing of resources enshrined in the Constitution.
“The overreaching principle to be used as a basis for revenue allocation is spelled out in the Principles of Public Finance (Article 201) specifically 201 (b) - 'the public finance system shall promote an equitable society’ - and 201 (b)(iii) - ‘expenditure shall promote the equitable development of the country',” he said.
Ndii said equitable society and equitable development are defined by the outcomes such income per person, life expectancy, school enrollment and education outcomes, access to health care, among other indicators.
“While development disparities may persist for different reasons, no community or part of Kenya is entitled to more development than the other using public money,” he said.
A proposed formula that will see 18 counties lose Sh17 billion if adopted is deadlocked in the Senate after senators whose counties are set to lose rejected it.
Ndii reckoned that the formula and models that inform the final basis for revenue allocation should be based on the targets set by the country and cost of offering that services.
For instance, if the country sets a target of maximum child mortality of 40/1000, then it follows that the gap between the baseline and the target should be the basis for revenue allocation.
“If we had agreed on the destination then it is doubtful that we can agree on the route. This crisis, then, provides an opportunity for the Senate to abandon the formula straight jacket,” he said.
The economist said the country has enough data on costs of providing services in different parts.
"The country also has a good enough socio-economic data to evaluate progress on the equitable development,” he said.
Ndii argued that the politics of ‘one man, one vote, one shilling’ as advocated by leaders from Central Kenya is a complete reversal of constitutional principle.
“It is an attempt to return the country to the trickle down paradigm of Sessional No. 10 of 1965 to wit ‘development money should be invested where it will yield the highest increase in net output,” he said.
“This approach will clearly favour the development of areas having abundant natural resources, good land and rainfall and power facilities, and people receptive to and active in development,” he added.
“The people of Marsabit get nothing for their wind resources, but when it comes to sharing revenue, the contribution of the wind resources to the revenue accounts for nothing.
“We have seen the national government rush to Turkana to develop infrastructure to exploit oil, but when it comes to revenue allocation, the investment the oil has brought into the country accounts for nothing,” he said.
Ndii said the principle of supremacy in resource allocation and development amounts to colonialism, which he claimed has been perpetuated by the current administration.
“Tyranny of numbers and domination of the weak by the strong and ethnic superiority complexes, this is not an option. Without a commitment to equitable development, there is no social contract, which is to say, sooner or later, there will be no Kenya,” he said.
Edited by Henry Makori