Governors have accused Kenya’s National Treasury and the National Assembly of holding counties hostage when they filed a petition at the Supreme Court to seek interpretation on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.
CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya said that the county governments have witnessed an onslaught on devolution saying that it was being undermined through formulation and enactment of centralist policy and laws.
“In this second term, devolved governance is being attacked by denying county government their resources. The National Treasury continues to hold counties hostage by always deviating from the Commission of Revenue Allocations recommendation by constantly denying disbursement of funds to counties,” Oparanya noted.
The Council of Governors claims that The Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 was subjected to mediation following lack of consensus between the Senate and the National Assembly with regards to the County Government’s equitable share.
The National Assembly initially proposed Ksh 310 billion for Counties, and later moved the figure to Ksh 316 billion during mediation.
The Senate conceded downwards from Ksh 335 billion to Ksh 327 billion. With the two different positions of the National Assembly and the Senate, the negotiations collapsed.
The Institute of Social Accountability (TISA), a civil society initiative committed towards the achievement of sound policy and good governance in Kenya, in a statement said “The failure to pass the Division of Revenue Bill 2019 has caused uncertainty in the county budget who cannot prepare their annual budget and appropriation bills. Therefore, counties will be unable to effectively perform their constitutional functions.”
According to TISA, the Controller of Budget needs to stop the National Government from accessing funds appropriated to it because the Appropriation Act 2019 is ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.