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Resolve revenue sharing stalemate, Nairobi MCAs urge Senate

Nairobi MCAs have appealed to Senators to resolve revenue formula standoff, saying services at the county government risk grinding to a halt should the impasse persist.

The ward representatives said the political stalemate in the Senate Assembly is hurting operations in counties as most devolved units are now cash-strapped and unable to finance their operations.

For a record ninth time, the Senate on Monday failed to make a decision on the controversial third basis formula for sharing revenue among counties.

Led by Majority Leader Abdi Guyo, the MCAs called on senators to quickly find a middle ground to expedite the passage of a revenue formula to save counties from imminent paralysis.

Guyo pointed out that Nairobi County, for instance, is yet to finalise its budget as a result of the row as it does not know the exact equitable revenue share due to it with the coming into the picture of Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

“We urge the Senate to expedite the passage of the formula to enable counties roll out their budgets for the 2020/2021 financial year. The parameters for revenue sharing are not cast in stone and the same can be panel beaten in the future,” said Mr Guyo.

The Matopeni MCA said that as an assembly, they support the formula proposed by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA), where the county is set to gain marginally, arguing that the capital city has the highest poverty index in the country and the formula would ensure that more people in the capital benefit.

He argued that marginalised counties, who feel they will lose funding if the CRA formula is approved, can use the equalisation fund to mitigate any gaps created.

Guyo further said the introduction of some of devolved functions like health, agriculture and roads as indices in the formula will address some of the original funding gaps on key functions assigned to counties.

“Most importantly, it is important that even as we focus on county allocations, the application of resources remaining at the national level should be in such a way that no region feels left behind in terms of development,” the leader of majority said.

The county legislators hit out at Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja accusing him of not putting first the interest of Nairobi residents who elected him with his revenue sharing formula that, if adopted, will see Nairobi County lose millions.

“There is no single time that Sakaja has sat with us as MCAs and allowed us to tell him about the issues affecting us.  Who did he consult before saying that there is no poverty in Nairobi. He is acting on the interests of other people but not Nairobians who elected him,” said Majority Whip Paul Kados.

Deputy Speaker John Kamangu told Sakaja to put aside any difference he might have with the government and support its agenda which is also beneficial to Nairobi.

“He was elected by the people of Nairobi. We do not expect him to champion any interest except that of Nairobi residents. We cannot say that we will support Nairobi losing money just so that another County can benefit while our people suffer,” he said.