Reasoning About Sharing County Water Funds in Kenya: Assessing the Quality of Justifications For Distribution

Publication Type: Papers
January 2016 | by Mokeira Nyagaka, IBP Kenya

reasoning-sharing-water-funds-kenyaOne of the principal drivers of constitutional reform in Kenya, leading up to the approval of the 2010 constitution, has been a desire to ensure that every Kenyan has access to basic services, including the provisions of clean and safe water. The law is clear that public resources should be distributed equitably across the country.  While the national government uses a formula in its distribution of revenue to counties, county budgets have been distributing resources without reference to any principles or policies on distribution. This undermines deliberation and accountability in the budgeting process.

This paper looks at the distribution of county revenues to the water (sub) sector across Kenya’s 47 counties. It begins by asking whether how much is allocated to each ward or subcounty can be determined by looking at the various budget documents in the formulation stage of the budget cycle. We focus on County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), Annual Development Plans (ADPs), and Budget Estimates prepared between 2013 and 2016. We then seek to isolate reasons or criteria for spatial distribution that are expressly given in these key budget documents.

This paper concludes with a discussion of findings that indicate a lack of explicit criteria in determining equitable distribution of public resources across counties, and some recommendations for county governments to improve transparency by making such information readily available.

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