Senators pass Revenue Bill as counties await Sh85b
Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 22:25 | 2 mins read
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
Senators yesterday unanimously approved the Division of Revenue Bill even as they lamented that counties are yet to receive at least Sh85 billion, three months to the end of the current Financial Year.
Yesterday, the senators passed the Bill that provides for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally between the National and county governments for the Financial Year 2021/22.
“The Division of Revenue Bill (National Assembly Bills No. 7 of 2021) is critical because it provides for the division of revenue raised nationally among the national and county levels of government as required by Article 218 of the Constitution,” Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said in his communication to the House.
Division of Revenue Bill 2021 proposes an allocation of Sh409.88 billion in this 2021/22 Financial Year, which includes an increase of Sh53.5 billion (16.9 per cent) for Equitable Share.
It also includes additional allocation from the share of the National government revenue and an extra conditional allocation from loans and grants.
Article 218 (1)(a) of the Constitution and Standing Order 181 (1) provides that at least two months before the end of each Financial Year, there shall be introduced in Parliament a Division of Revenue Bill.
Further, Standing Order 181 (3) provides that the Senate is required to conclude the consideration of the Division of Revenue Bill not later than 14 days after it has been introduced.
Last week, the Council of Governors gave Treasury a one-week ultimatum to release the monies, warning that if their demands are not met then they will take drastic action.
The county chiefs gave National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani up to April 15 to release Sh78 billion owed to the 47 devolved units for January, February and March.
Further, CoG demanded Sh7.2 billion to 12 counties that have a deficit meant for December 2020.
The Supreme Court Advisory, Reference No. 3 of 2019, noted that the enactment of an Appropriation Act cannot precede the enactment of a Division of Revenue Act.
The Appropriation Bill is crucial as it authorises the National government to withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund for the expenditure of the national government.
Consequently, the timely passage of the Division of Revenue Bill (National Assembly Bills No. 7 of 2021) is critical, as it will inform the Annual Budget Estimates and the Appropriation Bill.
Moving the Bill at the floor of the Senate yesterday, Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) said the Senate is constitutionally mandated as the protector of devolved unit.
“I have appealed to members to bipartisanly allow this to pass as fast as we can so that we can move on with the other levels of the Revenue Bills that are coming to this House,” Senator Poghisio.
Minority Leader James Orengo observed that the Bill is so critical, saying it is the fulcrum of the activities of the Senate.
Taking a swipe at the National Treasury, Orengo said devolved units are being strangled by the National government by either delayed or none disbursement of funds.