Nyandarua is a marginalized County and now is the time to review the criteria for identification of such areas, His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia has said.
Speaking during a forum in Ol’Kalou to assess the Commission for Revenue Allocation’s projections for the second phase of devolution, Governor Kimemia said that the body has persistently used indicators associated to National Government functions to develop marginalization indices to allocate resources to counties.
“Marginalized areas within each county should also be eligible for the Equalization Fund. Otherwise, blanket allocation of this fund to particular counties could result in further marginalisation,” he warned.
The Governor called for such areas to be identified based on geographical size as a proportion of national area and population density as opposed to the county averaged status.
He further noted that counties previously categorized as marginalized in 2013 may not be at the same level in 2018, creating relative marginalisation.
“Due to the expected positive effects of the Equalization Fund on development and growth in national shareable revenue, counties eligible to benefit from the fund should be revised regularly.” he said.
The County head said Nyandarua needs compensation for loss arising from the CRA’s second generation revenue sharing formulae on revenue allocation.
“One of the formulae’s weaknesses includes not factoring accessibility to other sources of funds for the counties such as donor grants, social service burden, county resource endowment and infrastructural development,” he said.
Governor Kimemia called for full implementation of a previous Senate report which identified Nyandarua, Tharaka Nithi, Tana River and West Pokot counties as marginalized for lacking established county headquarters.
“Nyandarua was only allocated KShs. 600 million for establishment of a County headquarter which is hardly enough. A County headquarter is more than county government offices,” he said.
Poverty levels in Nyandarua are highest at 46.3 per cent compared to other counties in the Mount Kenya region, owing to marginalization in the colonial and post-independence eras.
Low local revenue collection has been averaging Kshs. 250 million shillings annually due to limited revenue streams.
“The bad news for us today is that the revised second CRA formula has resulted into reduction in the amount for equitable share to a tune of KShs. 188 million shillings, resulting in further marginalization,” said Governor Kimemia.
Challenges in Intergovernmental relations have further seen Nyandarua lose potential revenue to the National Government, especially in milk cess, forestry and the water sector.
“When our concerns will have been taken into account, we will rightfully take our seat at the table of national development and play our part. Make no mistake: It is not our intention to play the card of marginalization forever. Nyandarua is rising. Our people are rising,” he concluded.
In attendance were members of the County Executive Committee led by Deputy Governor Her Excellency (Mrs.) Cecilia Mbuthia, Hon. Mary Mugwanja (Finance and Economic Development), Hon. Lawrence Mukundi (Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development) and Hon. (Eng.) Stephen Mbugua (Transport, Energy and Public Works).
From the CRA was Director for Fiscal Affairs Mr. James Katule and Manager Senior Analyst Mr. Job Otiwa.
The County Assembly was represented by Speaker Hon. Ndegwa Wahome, Clerk to the County Assembly Hon. Nderi Ndiani and several members of the august House.
Other stakeholders from the public also attended.