Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi has warned that the current revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate risked eroding gains made since the advent of devolution in the country.
Muriithi observed that the stalemate that has seen counties starved of cash for almost three months now was slowly pulling back progress made in devolution in terms of service delivery and development.
Speaking at his Nanyuki office Wednesday, the governor said that there was sufficient law in place to allow the National Treasury CS and the Controller of Budget to proceed and disburse a minimum of 50 percent of the county allocation for last year and wondered why no funds were forthcoming in the counties.
“All we are seeing is a ping pong game between the Senate and the National Assembly on the division of revenue yet the lives of Kenyans continue to be put on the line, when health and other services continue to suffer as each house blames the other,” he said.
Muriithi added that the matter was a straightforward and a technical issue that can be addressed by existing laws as counties wait for the two houses to have their political debate about the formula.
The governor cited an amendment bill sponsored by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa a few months back that sought to cure what should happen when there is no division of revenue by allowing the Treasury to disburse 50 percent of the previous year’s revenue before a stalemate can be resolved.
He stated that services in the counties would shut down starting next week as there are no funds to run operations.
“Operations in counties will shut down next week not because Kenyans have not paid taxes, but because by using bureaucratic and other maneuvers equitable share of revenue remains inaccessible to counties,” he said.
The governor reiterated his earlier claim that the revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate as one of the machinations being used to starve counties of cash in order to portray the devolved units as untenable.
There is a plot by powerful forces to kill devolution in the country through starving counties’ money for operations.
He urged Kenyans to stand up and say no to the machinations designed to kill devolution especially at such a time the country was battling the Covid-19 global pandemic.
“There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that devolution is what for the first time in independent Kenya has made citizens be proud of our country, that we can build roads, bridges, and health facilities that Kenyans had waited for, for over 50 years without getting,” noted the governor.
He said that counties cannot understand why there was a stalemate in the revenue sharing formula in the Senate, that was even facing opposition from Senators whose counties were set to get more funds than before.
By Martin Munyi