By Treezer Michelle Atieno
Since the introduction of devolution in Kenya through the 2010 Constitution, one of the key objectives was to promote equality and equitable development across the counties. The revenue allocation system was designed to channel resources to previously marginalized regions, aiming to bridge the socio-economic gap between counties.
Before devolution, the central government controlled the allocation and distribution of resources, leading to unequal development across regions. With the advent of devolution, a significant portion of the national budget is now disbursed directly to the 47 counties based on a formula that considers population, poverty levels, and development needs, among other factors.
County revenue allocation has facilitated the development of infrastructure in previously neglected regions. Roads, schools, healthcare facilities, and water projects have seen significant improvements, leading to increased access to basic services for citizens in these counties.
By allocating resources to various projects and initiatives, county governments have created employment opportunities for locals, reducing the migration of people from less developed counties to major cities in search of work.
The increased allocation of funds to counties with high poverty rates has played a crucial role in poverty reduction efforts. Local governments can implement targeted programs to uplift the lives of their citizens through social welfare programs and poverty eradication projects.
However, there are still some factors that hinder the achievement of equality through county revenue allocation. Counties have faced challenges related to corruption and mismanagement of allocated funds. This has hindered the intended impact on equality, as resources do not always reach the target beneficiaries.
Some counties also lack the institutional capacity and skilled personnel needed to effectively utilize the allocated resources. This can lead to underutilization of funds and hinder the achievement of equitable development.
To ensure that county revenue allocation effectively enhances equality levels, a robust monitoring and evaluation mechanism is essential. This should involve independent oversight to assess the impact of the funds disbursed, ensuring they are used for their intended purposes and reaching the target population.
County revenue allocation in Kenya has undoubtedly made significant strides towards promoting equality and equitable development. Infrastructure improvements, increased employment opportunities, and poverty reduction efforts are some of the positive outcomes. However, challenges such as corruption, capacity building, and revenue generation disparities still need to be addressed to fully realize the intended goals of devolution.
The government, in collaboration with civil society organizations and development partners, should continue to work towards strengthening accountability and transparency in resource allocation and utilization. By doing so, Kenya can achieve more balanced development and bridge the gap between the more and less developed counties, fostering a truly equal and prosperous nation.