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Taita-Taveta women urged to give birth for ‘more resource allocation’

Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu says the low birth-rate and sparse population in the region is to blame for small allocation the county receives annually as equitable share from the National government.

Speaking at the weekend in Voi town, the Governor said there was need for the residents of the county to boost their numbers which would bring in more money from the national government.

He said that apart from boosting up the voters in the region, high population would also ensure that the region received a larger allocation of the national cake.

“We have low population as a county which means that we will continue receiving low allocation from the national government. Compared to other counties such as Kilifi with over 1.2 million people, our population of 300,000 means we will continue receiving little money if our population remains low,” he said.

According to the 2009 population census, Taita-Taveta County has a 284, 657 people. It is estimated that the region’s population in 2014 was around 300,000 – a number that is still deemed too low for the region to receive a bigger allocation from Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA).

The Governor said that it was prudent to know that county allocation was also pegged on the number of people noting that people who were fewer were set to be disadvantaged.

COUNTY ALLOCATION

Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) drafted a revenue-sharing formula that identified five factors to be considered when determining the amount of monies to be allocated to the counties.

The five factors are population, basic equal share, poverty, land area and fiscal responsibility.

Population factor receives the lion’s share of allocation at 45 per cent with basic equal share pegged at 25 per cent. Poverty, land area and fiscal responsibility receive 20, 8 and 2 per cent respectively.

This means that the county with a large population will receive more money as compared to a county with a small people.

Leaders in Taita-Taveta County have been complaining that the low population in the region is to blame for the dismal allocation of the national receives every financial year.

Despite the fact that the county receives more money from Equalization fund and Poverty factor, the leaders maintain that population is the key determinant on the final amount a county gets and as long as the number of people in the region remains low, little money will continue to be given to the region.

In 2013/14, CRA gave Taita-Taveta County Sh2.4 billion as equitable share. The region was given an additional Sh194 million as money under Equalization Fund.

In the current financial year, the region allocation was increased to Sh2.8 billion with an additional Sh217 million as Equalization Fund. The County allocation for 2015/16 is expected to be over Sh3 billion.

LOW POPULATION

Despite the gradual increase in the allocation, county leaders still maintain that low population has played a major role in denying the county more monies from the national government hence the calls for women to shun family planning and populate the region.

In the past, Senator Dan Mwazo and Women Rep Joyce Lay have also urged the residents to boost their numbers in a bid to have more clout in deciding national resources.

The current call by the Governor is set to ruffle feathers amongst hundreds of impoverished residents who are living from hand to mouth.

Ms. Alice Mwashima, a resident of Voi, said that with the current poverty levels in the region, more children would mean families would be further plunged deeper into poverty.

She said that leaders should provide employment and other means of sustenance for the residents before advising on population growth.

“We need to be empowered to get jobs and better our lives for us to be able to provide for our families. Otherwise, giving birth to children only for the sake without planning on what they will eat and how they will live is simply being reckless,” she said.