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Nairobi MCA’s promise to pass BBI bill

Nairobi County Assembly leadership says it will whip its members to pass the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) bill regardless of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise that the government will give car grants to Members of the County Assembly (MCA) at the weekend.

Led by Deputy Majority Whip Waithera Chege, the MCAs said their decision to support the BBI has nothing to do with the car grant carrot dangled to MCAs by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta made the promise during a meeting with ward representatives at Sagana State Lodge on Friday.

MCAs have for long recommended for an improvement of their car grants to at least Sh2 million for each one of them, an amount that pushes them closer to MPs who get at least Sh3 million.

“We have resolved to pass BBI with or without car grants for we believe it has many benefits for devolution. Likewise, I am asking my counterparts countrywide not to vote for the bill because of the car grant but for the benefits it has for the future generation,” said Chege.

The assembly reconvenes on February 9, 2021 after more than two months in recess and the debate of the bill will be part of the first items for consideration by the House.

The bill needs to be approved by at least 24 county assemblies before it sails to the next level.

Ms Chege, who also doubles as South B MCA, explained that the implementation of the BBI was the only sure way to ensure an increase in allocation of funds to counties from a current 15 percent to the proposed 35 percent.

This means that counties will receive more funding from the national government in terms of revenue allocated to the 47 devolved units.

“The additional resources will ensure service delivery is not constrained due to limited resources with more and more residents reached in service delivery,” she said.

The MCA further stated that the initiative portends well for the MCAs and their constituents as it proposes that ward development fund be entrenched into the Constitution which shall be funded by at least five percent of all the county government’s revenue in each financial year.

This will ensure equitable distribution and development in the wards of money allocated or collected by the county government.

She pointed out that the proposal that WDF be used only for development expenditure falling within the functions of the county government within the county wards and Parliament enact legislation to provide for the management of the Fund, criteria for disbursement of the funds to each ward in the county and public participation and identification of the development projects by residents of the ward will ensure that wards are developed regardless of the political affiliation of the MCA.

“This will ensure that development in wards is not at the mercy of a governor as money will be made available to the wards whether the MCA is in good or bad books with a governor. It will also give power to ward residents to identify projects they want implemented,” said Minority Leader Michael Ogada.

Majority Whip Paul Kados added that the report means well for the youth as it proposes a seven-year tax break for youth-owned businesses in addition to proposing for the establishment of business incubation centers to provide business advisory services, which includes access to capital and government contracts.

“I can tell you without any doubt that all our MCAs will support the bill. I am going to be in charge of mobilising members to vote for the document in the assembly and it will pass by over 90 percent support,” said the Mihang’o Ward MCA.