Lamu County Government has petitioned the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) to increase its revenue allocation share current share from the current Ksh. 3 billion due to the geographical location of the area.
Governor Issa Timammy said the share they were currently receiving was not sustainable as the county was vast and located far apart making it very expensive to implement projects.
Speaking at the Tropical Village hotel in Malindi after a three-day County Budget Economic Forum (CBEF) induction organized by USAID KUZA and facilitated by the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) he said over the past 10 years of devolution Lamu County has been shortchanged because of its unique Geographical area.
“You Know Lamu is an Archipelago comprising of 65 Islands and a very expansive Mainland and it is really a challenge for us when it comes to implementing projects,” he said.
The Governor said a project that might cost Sh. 0.5 million in a place like Mombasa or Kilifi might end up costing over Ksh. 3 million in Lamu simply because of the logistics.
He appealed to the CRA to take into account the challenges Lamu has and consider increasing their allocation when they come up with the fourth form of revenue allocation.
“We hope they will look into these other issues; I have already presented a memorandum on behalf of Lamu to the CRA for them to consider where we have set up all the issues and justification for an increase in the revenues that Lamu receives,” he said.
Timammy called on the CRA to consider their plea so that Lamu could be able to get meaningful developments.
He said with the Ksh. 3 billion they are receiving If they deduct salaries, wages, operations and maintenance they are left with very little for development.
The Governor said some counties such as Mombasa were at an advantage because people were concentrated over a small area but for Lamu which has over 6,400 square kilometres with people spread all over the demand for development is so spread making it costly to implement development projects.
“People should not forget that before devolution came in Lamu was in the back banner of development, they forgot about Lamu and we had a lot about Lamu to catch up and we are hoping that the fourth basis formula will be more advantageous for the People of Lamu,” he said.
Present included CRA Commissioner Hadija Juma, John Githiaka from USAID Kenya, Officials from the CRA, County Executive Members and members from the CBEF.
Juma admitted that Lamu was a unique county and revealed that CRA was coming up with a formula for revenue allocation which will see the county get an increase in the share.
The Commissioner said they were in the process of coming up with the fourth basis and requested counties, the public, and stakeholders for opinions on the process of allocation.
“Lamu has been disadvantaged because out of the 47 counties, Lamu is the one getting the lowest amount of revenue allocation, and there are issues we have checked and found the cost of services as you know the meaning of devolution was to bring services closer to Wananchi and delivering those services in Lamu county was very costly,” she said.
She said travelling from Lamu Island to other Islands like Pate, Faza, and Kiangwe was very expensive which makes the county have many challenges.
“Those are among the issues we will consider when making the fourth basis so as to ensure their allocation is increased so as to serve Lamu people better,” she said.
The Commissioner said Lamu was the fifth out of the 47 counties to for the CBEF and that it was the ninth county to be rated as having qualified for loans as a county and promised to support and sensitize them so as to be able to get loans to add up with the equitable share they receive from the National government.
John Githiaka on his part said they have been supporting the counties of Northern Kenya to strengthen their capacities specifically financial management.
He said they supported Lamu County to undertake the capacity development program for the County Budget and Economic Forum.
“It is our hope that the skills that the county has gained will be able to strengthen the public financial management including the Budgeting, the prioritization and also the General PFM including the on-source revenue generation within the county so that we can generate the revenues to supplement the national government exchequer disbursement and be able to promote economic activities in the county,” he said.