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Senators, governors hit back at MPs in row over county funding

Thursday, May 16th, 2024 06:15 | By
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna. PHOTO/Print

Senators and governors have hit back at members of the National Assembly for rejecting their proposal to allocate more money to counties.

In renewed rivalry between the two Houses of Parliament, senators described the utterances of some MPs as unfortunate.

Yesterday, the senators, led by Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), said MPs’ actions are an affront to devolution. “The challenges [facing] counties have to be discussed soberly, devoid of emotions. It was wrong for the other House to cast aspersions on our decision, which is meant for the good of the country. Their decision is aimed at poisoning the minds of Kenyans against devolution,” he said.

“We cannot be pointing fingers at governors yet we have seen corruption in the management of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) over the years. Even as they point fingers at governors, they should also do so for the national government.”

Speaking on the floor of the House, Samson Cherargei (Nandi) accused the National Assembly of misleading the country that increasing the allocation to counties to Sh415 billion would lead to a reduction in funds earmarked for the NG-CDF.

“The reason we want the allocation to counties increased is to ensure that our people get good services. It is shameful that our colleagues in the National Assembly are out to mislead the country over the Senate proposal,” said Cherargei.

Meanwhile, the Council of Governors, through the chairman of its Finance Committee, Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa, warned that the move would cripple services in counties.

The devolved regions need more money to implement projects, he said. “I find fault with the National Assembly’s Budget Committee for rejecting senators’ proposal to increase counties’ allocation to Sh415 billion. Counties have medical equipment to be serviced and various other functions which have been devolved but not funded,” he said.

He added that he did not understand why MPs rejected the Senate proposal, noting that counties were taking up more functions and needed sufficient funding to make devolution work.

“In the previous financial year, the national government devolved more roles to counties, and therefore adding less than Sh20 billion to be divided among the 47 counties makes it difficult to successfully run critical functions like health and agriculture, among others,” he said.

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