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Senate,Treasury headed for clash

Fred Aminga @faminga

The Senate Finance and Budget committee has taken issue with National Treasury for the slow absorption of funds with only Sh126 billion having trickled down to counties in the current financial year.

Warning that the delay has potential to slow growth, the committee had been expecting an explanation from Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich who did not show up for the meeting at County Hall, amid the cash crunch.

The committee was banking on Treasury to explain the increasing variances in disbursement of funds to counties, which are behind the schedule approved by Senate. A team from Treasury is expected to appear before the committee today.

Chaired by Senator Mohamed Mohamud (Mandera), the committee took issue with increasing disparities in the amount of funds distributed to countries whereby some had already received more compared to others.

“Only Sh126 billion has been disbursed which is about 47 per cent. However, Baringo County has 33.78 per cent, Bomet 51 per cent while Nairobi County had received 57 per cent of funds. Trans Nzoia is the leading with 59 per cent of funds already disbursed,” said Mohamud. He said that Treasury must also explain variations in disbursement of funds.

The Senate had raised issues regarding 45 counties which are unable to access cash from international lenders to develop their urban centres and Treasury will explain amendment in the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) to enable them to access the funds.

“Treasury is proposing amendments to the County Allocation of Revenue Act to include some funding from the World Bank to the tune of Sh927 million for 45 counties. We will raise some questions on CARA,” Mohamud said. Over the years, the Senate and Treasury have had major standoffs on the budget prompting intensive negotiations particularly on amount counties should be allocated.

In November last year, the clash prompted a major standoff between Senate and National Assembly affecting passing the Division of Revenue Bill on the sum counties should get. Senate and Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) had proposed Sh352 billion to the 47 counties but National Assembly reduced the sum by Sh29 billion to Sh323 billion.

This saw the counties allocated Sh302 billion in the current 2017/18 financial year from a deal reached through mediation between National Assembly and Senate. Last week, the Senators demanded that the State allocates counties Sh327.7 billion while CRA proposes Sh337.2 billion against Treasury’s Sh314 billion contained in the 2018/19 Budget Policy Statement.

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