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Daily Nation : February 27th 2014
2 | National News DAILY NATION Thursday February 27, 2014 TURF WARS | Parliament looks set to pass Bill providing that money given to poorest regions be shared by constituencies MPs seek to snatch Sh3.4bn from governors CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 MORE INFO the national level. Yesterday, MPs argued that because the CDF structures are well established, money designated to be spent at the national level is better spent using that model. They also took the opportunity to criticise governors, whom they accused of being spendthrifts. Also lined up on the Order Paper were the National Emblems, Flags and Names (Amendment) Bill and the County Governments (Amendment) Bill, which Parliament agreed would be speeded up and passed to whittle down the powers of governors. On the Equalisation Fund, MPs intend to amend the Constitution by parliamentary initiative and to have the Bill signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the basis that it does not affect “the objects, principles and structure of devolved government”, which means it will not require a referendum. “This Bill does not infringe or We need to amend this Constitution and members, don’t fear changing this Constitution.” Tiaty MP Asman Kamama limit any fundamental rights or freedoms nor does it propose to delegate any legislative authority,” Mr Lelelit said in the Bill. If the MPs succeed, the fund will be shared out as part of the CDF. Calculated as 0.5 per cent of the latest audited accounts, the fund has been set at Sh3.4 billion for the next financial year. The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has identified the 14 counties to benefit from the allocation as Turkana, Lamu, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Tana River, Narok, Kwale, Garissa, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Isiolo. Although the Bill by Mr Lelelit was not among those designated Senators seek bigger role The Senate is expected to debate and pass a law to determine how county finances will be spent. The Public Finance Management Act (Amendment) Bill 2014 proposes that 60 per cent of money allocated to counties must be used on development and 40 on recurrent expenses. Senators have, however, ruled out reducing any county allocations saying doing so would amount to abdicating their mandate. Instead, they would push the national government for more allocation to county governments but demand accountability from governors. to reduce the powers of governors, it has the same effect because the governors from the 14 counties will collectively have Sh3.4 billion less. Mr Lelelit said that while CRA did a good job identifying the counties which should benefit, their thinking that the money should go to the counties was wrong because the Constitution “does not talk about marginalised counties”. “The Constitution is very clear that the Equalisation Fund is a national fund. It is nothing to do with the counties, so the reason why I said the CRA is somewhat drunk with the counties is that FILE | NATION MPs in a past session of Parliament. They were yeterday debating a Bill to share the Equalisation Fund through constituencies rather than counties. when they were identifying these areas, they put the county as the area of focus,” said Mr Lelelit. Majority Leader Aden Duale — who said he was speaking as a pastoralist and MP for Garissa Town — said the Constitution’s intentions regarding devolution had been subverted by governors. “It is sad today that the people who will not benefit from devolution are the people of northern Kenya,” he said. “The first year is coming to an end but if you go to those regions, you will not see any sign of devolved money.” Instead, he said, one was likely to see governors driving with 50 cars on the most dilapidated roads amongst the poorest people. Tiaty MP Asman Kamama said in areas like Suguta Valley, where bandits are a constant menace, the presence of government was not felt. He asked MPs to pass the Bill so that such places can be developed. “We need to amend this Con- stitution and members, don’t fear changing this Constitution,” he said. “CDF is the best model in the entire continent from the Gulf of Sirte in Libya to Cape Town. This is the best development model that has actually been formulated in Africa because 95 per cent of this money goes directly to development.” He said that with counties, almost 70 per cent of the money received from the Central Govern- ment was being spent on salaries and 30 per cent on development. According to him, the actual amount was much less because of the corruption. Mr Korei ole Lemein (Narok South, URP) said supporting the Bill meant supporting the very marginalised people in Kenya. Mr Mohammed Shidiye (Lagdera, URP) said if handled through the CDF, the Equalisation Fund would make a real difference in the marginalised areas. Mr Patrick ole Ntutu (Narok West, URP) said: “CDF is the only money that is really working on the ground and therefore, this Equalisation Fund is really meant to go help those constituencies that need help.” Pay Anglo Leasing debts, suggests MP BY NATION REPORTER Parliament will eventually have to authorise the payment of some Anglo Leasing contracts because Kenya keeps losing related cases at international courts, an MP has said. Mbeere North MP Charles Njagagua told his colleagues in the House: “It is time for Kenya to bite the bullet, face the facts and pay up” because it seems destined to lose the cases. Kenya reportedly owes Sh1.6 billion in debts and penalties on the Anglo Leasing contracts. “As Parliament, it is incum- bent upon us to see what is good for this country. I know of a report that is out there in the world that this country is spending huge amounts of money to settle legal fees and in all those matters we are losing,” said Mr Njagagua. “Since we are losing in the cases we have filed, even when we go to arbitration, we are losing those cases. We must come to a point and say let us pay those cases, let us pay those contracts and move forward.” He said this would improve Kenya’s credibility and credit rating in the international community. “If the time has come for us to settle those debts, we must do it. And it’s unfortunate because contracts were entered, cases were filed and in all those cases, we are losing out,” said Mr Njagagua. Budget estimates The legislator made the remarks as MPs debated a report on the Supplementary Budget estimates, with Budget Committee chairman Mutava Musyimi telling the House that there are no provisions for the Anglo Leasing projects. The Rev Musyimi (Mbeere South, TNA) was responding to claims by South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya that MPs were concerned the government planned to pay for Anglo Leasing projects.
February 26th 2014
February 28th 2014