The Constitution envisages revenue sharing based on equity, but also one that uplifts poorer counties.

However, there is also agreement that a more developed county such as Nairobi with its huge population cannot be disadvantaged in favor of let’s say Lamu, as they both have different needs.

Lamu might prioritize road construction while Nairobi’s hospitals may need much more funding to cater to the huge population. And this is just the nature of devolution and what it is supposed to achieve.

Therefore, the revenue-sharing formula must be fair and must support one man, one vote, and one shilling. And this is why in this debate, other than arguing about who is losing what or who is gaining what, we must seek to address the question of what is equitable and fair.

To start off, we must first go back to the CRA recommendation.

According to the CRA, the proposed formula builds on lessons learned from a comprehensive review of the second basis.

Lamu might prioritize road construction while Nairobi’s hospitals may need much more funding to cater to the huge population. And this is just the nature of devolution and what it is supposed to achieve.

In justifying the formula, CRA also said it follows a comparative analysis of financing transfer systems from other countries, and extensive consultations with the national government, county governments, public finance experts, and the public.

See the source image

The formula, according to CRA, seeks to address six primary objectives: To enhance service delivery, to promote balanced development, to incentivize counties, to optimize capacity, to raise revenue, and to incentivize prudent use of public resources.

In aggregate, the framework allocates 65 percent of the revenue for enhancing the delivery of public services, 31 percent for promotion of balanced development, and four percent to incentivize revenue collection and fiscal prudence.

So what’s the difference with the current formula? The current formula has a population (45 percent), equal share (26 percent), poverty gap (18 percent), land area (eight percent), and development index (one percent).

So in the new formula, the service delivery component looks at things like health, agriculture, rural households in a county while other functions are based on population. There is also a basic minimum allocation for each county.

The balanced development component has four variables: Roads, urban services, land area, and poverty. The fiscal effort index measures a county’s effort to raise its own-source revenues from the economic activities within the county.

And so generally speaking, it is not more of how much money a county receives but how the allocation meets those specific needs in each of the counties.

Therefore, as this debate continues, senators must look at each individual county and its needs and see whether the proposed formula addresses them. There is data available from last year’s census that can be used for each of the parameters.

The debate on this formula should not be used to divide Kenyans into political or regional lines. It should be informed by what is best for the residents of the respective counties.