NATIONAL CAKE CONTENTIOUS

Boosting county revenue collection will make them independent

Allocation standoff in Senate might hurt development if counties

In Summary

• Counties can borrow from KRA given that the taxman has been in the business of revenue collection for long. 

• With better collection mechanisms, counties' rates and taxes will be enough to run the units as they await allocation from the national government. 

Senators led by Kilifi's Stewart Madzayo, at Parliament Buildings on July 7. They said they will oppose the revenue sharing formula.
REVENUE STANDOFF: Senators led by Kilifi's Stewart Madzayo, at Parliament Buildings on July 7. They said they will oppose the revenue sharing formula.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The ongoing stalemate on county revenue allocation is definitely a big blow to the smooth running of the devolved units. Without a doubt, it has halted crucial operations at the counties. Notably, this is not the first time the beginning of a financial year is marked by a revenue allocation standoff. Last year, county government bosses matched to the Supreme Court over yet another revenue allocation standoff. 

While appreciating that devolution is still at toddler stages in Kenya, it would be important for our policy makers to craft measures that will offer long-term and better solutions that bury revenue allocation standoff for good. Instead of giving the counties a fish to feed them for a day, our policy and economic think tanks should come up with measures geared towards teaching our counties how to fish so that they can feed themselves for a lifetime. 

Each of the 47 counties is uniquely and heavily endowed with highly diverse resources. The economic potential of every county can, therefore, not be overstated. Thinking along these lines, it is possible to harness the economic potential of our developed units for the long-term benefits to a level where each county is financially semi-independent. Look at it as an employed person with a side hustle.

An important step of bringing this to fruition is streamlining county revenue collection mechanisms. With better collection mechanisms, the much the counties collect in form of rates and taxes will be enough to run the units as they await allocation from the national government.

Benchmarking and probably strategically partnering with the national collector, the Kenya Revenue Authority, could go a long way in revolutionising revenue mobilisation and collection at the county level. There is so much our counties can borrow from KRA given that the taxman has been in the business of revenue collection for long.

With such strategies in place, there will be some sort of continuity of service delivery for Wanjiku’s sake even as counties await funding from the national government. 

 

Nairobi