Talks on county funds stall three hours to Rotich’s budget reading

Talks are rife on the legality of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich tabling the Ksh.3.02trillion budget on Thursday afternoon.

Three hours to the scheduled tabling of the budget in Parliament, the mediation committee was yet to to agree on the Division of Revenue Bill.

“The talks have stalled meaning that there will be a delay in disbursement of county funds from Treasury. The Bill will have to be brought back to Parliament afresh but I want to assure Kenyans that there is no crisis,” Dr. Makali Mulu, MP Kitui Central told Citizen TV on Thursday.

According to him, there is no illegality in tabling of the budget on Thursday as the Constitution provides for tabling of the Bill before the end of the particular financial year.

The Bill dictates the sharing of revenue raised nationally between the two levels of government and must be passed to allow for the County Allocation of Revenue Bill.

However, County bosses who have rejected a lower allocation of Ksh.310billion maintain that they will be unable to proceed with preparing their annual budgets.

This means that salaries and government services will not be paid until the issue is resolved.

The Comission on Revenue Allocation had recommended that Ksh.335.67billion be allocated to counties but Treasury rejected it.

The frosty relationship between Governors and Treasury was also brought to the fore in 2017 when the two arms of government also failed to agree on amount allocated for counties.

At the time, Senators rejected the proposed Ksh.291billion from the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and instead set it as Ksh.314billion.

Parliament has tended to side with Treasury even as critics see the tug of war between the COG and Treasury persisting.

This may set the stage for further delay in reimbursement of county funds.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Human Rights Commission has filed a case seeking to stop the budget reading claiming that the move will be illegal.

A Machakos judge on Wednesday certified certified the case as urgent and requested for the file to be brought to chambers.

He then gave orders that the matter be heard at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.

The case is yet to be heard.

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