• The Equalisation Fund was established to plug gaps of underdevelopment in previously mariginalised areas.
• In its second policy, CRA identified 1,424 areas based on access to education, water sanitation and electricity as marginalised areas.
The Commission on Revenue Allocation will henceforth consider the criteria for sharing revenues from the Equalisation Fund based on the log of the population and the exponential of the principal identification unit.
Based on the Second Policy and Criteria For Sharing Revenue Among Marginalised Areas, CRA has also changed the consideration from communities to areas.
The Equalisation Fund was established to plug gaps of underdevelopment in previously mariginalised areas. The funds were meant to improve infrastructure, water, health and education facilities.
The policy further recommends “partnerships through matching funds, where appropriate, along with the involvement of county governments, local administration and beneficiary communities in the selection and implementation of projects.”
The second policy will be used to share revenues from the Equalisation Fund up to 2021.
CRA’s Oliver Mwenda says in the past, projects that were sometimes funded through the EqualiSation Fund did not resonate with the targeted communities.
“In some cases, communities prioritiSed a bridge but what they got was a health facility. Whereas that is important, it is not what the community urgently needed. They thus feel the fund didn’t help them,” Mwenda said on Tuesday.
In its second policy, CRA identified 1,424 areas based on access to education, water sanitation and electricity as marginalised areas.
Article 204(3)(b) stipulates that the national government may use the Equalisation Fund either directly, or indirectly through conditional grants to counties in which marginalised communities exists.
In this regard, CRA recommends, “In line with the principles of subsidiary and efficiency, this policy recommends an indirect use of the Fund by the national government. The funds should be allocated as a conditional grant to county governments. This will ensure county governments and marginalised communities are effectively involved in the identification and implementation of projects.’
This will ensure the counties and the marginalised communities play a central role to ensure projects operationalisation and sustainability. It will also allow for integration of the fund activities into the county planning and implementation frameworks, and create synergies in the implementation.
Under the indirect framework, the Equalisation Fund Advisory Board proposes that counties establish project implementation units/committees (PIU) at ward levels comprising of beneficiaries communities and officials from the county and national government.
“The PIUs should prepare sector-specific project proposals for approval and funding from the EFAB. The PIUs should also provide project implementation reports to the EFAB. The EFAB should remain with the overarching role to oversight the Fund and advice on the operations of the Fund,” the policy says.
The EFAB currently implements the Fund directly.
If this is to continue, the Commission recommends for the involvement of the counties in the identification and implementation of priorities of marginalised communities, and that the EFAB should involve technical professionals in project identification from grassroots institutions in different sectors.
Some of the key priorities identified are access to safe water, school enrolment and transition and community health services.
Others are access roads, electricity and security, which CRA notes are pre-requisites to economic development.
Some marginalised areas have in the past criticised the Equalisation Fund, saying it is not addressing the challenges it was established to fix, as well as it’s disbursement timeframe.
The Frontier Counties Development Council Council chairman Ali Roba in March said 10 of the 20 years of the fund have elapsed with nothing substantial achieved.
“It is imperative that some enforcing provisions in law must be made because marginalised counties have not received the funds, hence, have not benefited,” Roba said.
In April last year, the then Treasury PS Kamau Thugge told members of the National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity Committee that only Sh1.1 billion out of the Sh12.4 billion kitty had been released to the identified 14 counties since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.
He said this was because Parliament had not approved a Supplementary Appropriations Bill since expenditure in the past years could not been approved due to the expiry of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 Appropriation Acts.
On May 11, 2018 President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the Equalisation Bill, Supplementary Appropriation Bill (2018 ) and the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2017 in which Turkana would get the highest amount at Sh1.050 billion.