Devolution makes it easier to nurture county resources

Counties should take up proposal to partner with KRA for revenue collection

In Summary

• Since the birth of devolution, counties have been crying foul over wide margins of revenue shortfalls. 

• Resources in counties could be enough for the country if harnessed and would stop a repeat of the standoff over revenue allocation. 

An oil rig in Turkana
TAP RESOURCES: An oil rig in Turkana
Image: FILE

Economic studies conducted over time indicate that Kenya, despite being in the league of developing countries, is heavily endowed with resources, which if strategically harnessed could generate enough revenue for the entire country.

The beauty of this phenomenon is that the resources are well distributed in all parts of the country. Take Turkana county, for instance. It probably never would have occurred to a Kenyan that the very county the entire country has severally pooled resources to aid could produce oil and prominently put Kenya on the map. Kenya has never had a better opportunity to pool these resources more effectively than when devolution was implemented.

However, since the birth of devolution, counties have been crying foul over wide margins of revenue shortfalls. Due to the shortfalls, there has always been a standoff between the devolved units and the national government over revenue allocation at the beginning of every financial year.

This year’s standoff was played out at a different level when governors literally marched to court to seek legal redress over the stalemate. Although the national government is constitutionally mandated to allocate revenue to the counties, there’s a need for the devolved units to relook their revenue collection strategies for better results.

While we acknowledge that counties may not be well-equipped in terms of the requisite revenue mobilisation and collection expertise, there is still a need to do whatever it takes to enhance revenue collection.

There has been a suggestion that the county governments reach out to national revenue collector KRA to partner with the taxman. This could be the only way for enhanced revenue collection at the county level.