MPs seek radical changes to anchor 4 funds into the law
Members of Parliament have proposed radical changes to have the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) entrenched in the Constitution. They also want the Senate Oversight Fund, National Government Affirmative Action Fund and Economic Stimulus and Empowerment Fund anchored in law.
According to the legislative proposal by MPs Gichimu Githinji (Gichugu) and Stephen Mule (Matungulu), this will ensure the critical role they play in promoting government projects and empowerment of vulnerable people is safeguarded, as well as ensures that the funds are not misused.
Further, the duo said the proposal would guarantee an avenue for the facilitation and implementation of national government functions in all parts of Kenya, pursuant to Article 6(3) of the Constitution.
“The net effect of the entrenchment of the funds in the Constitution is to guarantee developmental benefits, without undue interruption by channeling resources to meet the ever-increasing needs of the people of Kenya,” reads the proposal.
Following the tabling of the said proposals, the two MPs will be expected to give their statements on the said proposals, while their counterparts will also make their own comments on it.
“Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 114(7A), it is notified that, today, Tuesday 1st November, 2022, the Speaker will accord an opportunity to the Member for Gichugu (Gichimu Githinji) and the Member for Matungulu (Stephen Mule) to make statements on the Legislative Proposal to amend the Constitution to entrench the National Government Constituencies Development Fund, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund, the Senate Oversight Fund, and the Economic Stimulus and Empowerment Fund in the Constitution. Thereafter, the Speaker will allow members to make general comments on the Legislative Proposal,” reads Tuesday’s order paper.
The move by the two lawmakers comes after President William Ruto a month ago proposed to Parliament to regularise the NG-CDF and also introduce a Senate fund.
In his speech during the opening of the 13th Parliament, Ruto said he believed MPs could get funds to develop their constituencies and a new kitty to support the Senate’s oversight role. “I know the contribution CDF has had in making life better for citizens ... I believe there is a way CDF can be aligned to the Constitution,” Ruto said.
Music to the ears
The sentiments by Ruto came as music to the ears of legislators who have been pushing to have the NGCDF fund entrenched in the Constitution after the Supreme Court ruled that the CDF Act, 2013 violates the principle of separation of powers. The senators too have been pushing to have funds set aside for them for efficient oversight of county governments. They claim their counterparts in the National Assembly, including Woman Representatives, have been unable to play oversight roles on devolved units.
Entrenchment of the other funds in the Constitution is seen as a move by MPs to woo their colleagues in the Senate to support their push. With regards to NG-CDF, the said proposal will be a national government fund consisting of monies of an amount of not less than five per centum of all the national government’s share of revenue, as divided by the annual Division of Revenue Act, pursuant to Article 218.
All monies allocated under this Article, the proposal adds, will be considered as funds allocated to constituencies pursuant to Article 206 (2)(c) and will be administered in accordance with the provisions of an Act of Parliament. According to the CDF Act, the constituency fund is 2.5 per cent of the sharable revenue.
The Senate fund will consist of not less than one hundredth per centum of all national government’s share of revenue as divided by the annual Division of Revenue Act enacted pursuant to Article 218.
The proposal states that all monies allocated shall be considered as funds allocated to the Senate pursuant to Article 206 (2) (c) that will be administered in accordance with the provisions of an Act of Parliament.
“Further, the establishment of the Senate Oversight Fund in the Constitution will ensure that the Senate is adequately empowered and resourced to perform its functions as stipulated in Article 96 of the Constitution,” reads the proposal
It adds: “ Parliament shall enact legislation to make further provision for the operation of this Article.”