Development projects stall after CDF coffers dry

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 00:00 | By
A school courtesy of Constituency Development Fund project. Photo/PD/Raphael Munge

Most projects in the constituencies have stalled after the National Treasury failed to release allocations in the current financial year, People Daily has learnt.

MPs say they have been forced to reschedule their projected plans for the year until the money is disbursed.

The last disbursement by Treasury to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) was done in May this year. The first payout for the current financial year was supposed to be done starting June this year.

And things might take longer to stabilise after Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani told People Daily that money will be released subject to availability of funds.

“We are making arrangements to disburse money in bits depending on the exchequer performance,” Yatani told People Daily.

The CS said the Treasury had already disbursed Sh14 billion from the balance of the 2019-2020 financial year. The disbursements were done in the last three months.

The delay means a number of constituencies will not be able to implement new projects or complete ongoing ones within the time frame.

The Treasury is now holding Sh15 billion belonging to the NGDCF which should have been released by now.

The NG-CDF board told parliament last week that only 67.12 percent of the 2019/20 budget has been disbursed to date.

Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo said the situation in the constituencies was very bad as NGDF boards could not even pay staff salaries.

“MPs are really struggling, with no funds to complete or set up new projects, electorates see you as underperforming, they do not understand when you tell them that funds have not been released,” lamented Maanzo.

Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) told the Treasury CS to tell the country that the government is broke.

“It is an open secret that we are dealing with a broke government, we do not expect the money to be released any time soon, there is no money,” Washiali said.

He was, however, hopeful the money might be disbursed at an opportune time to hoodwink MPs to support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) amendments when they are brought before them.

Soy MP Caleb Kositany on his part said the country was facing its worst financial crisis adding that he does not expect the situation to improve anytime soon.

“Treasury hasn’t disbursed CDF to constituencies six months after the budget was tabled in parliament. County governments are also facing a cash crisis. Now, what makes you think that BBI is going to send more money to the grassroots? When revenue is shrinking and national debts hitting the ceiling,” posed the MP.

Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi echoed similar sentiments as his colleagues, saying he was worried that MPs will not be able to complete projects planned to be done during their term in office.

Out of the 2019/2020 financial year budget, each of the constituencies was allocated Sh137 million for development.

But according to documents tabled before the Constituencies Development Committee by the board, only Sh28 billion has been disbursed for project implementation to date.

“The board has been and continues to follow up with the ministry for the release of the balance of Sh15.7 billion,” read part of the Board’s presentation.

The Fund was also underfunded to the tune of Sh4.9 billion arrears for the past financial year 2018/2019.

 The board was appearing before the Constituency Development Committee to brief it on the progress of various projects as per the recommendations of the Committee on the status of fund management and implementation in various reports.

According to the board, the Treasury is holding Sh13.7 billion that had been allocated to CDF in the year to June 2020 and arrears of Sh4.97 billion that is owed to the 290 electoral areas from 2011/12 to 2014/15.

The Treasury allocated CDF Sh41.7 billion, and each of the 290 constituencies was to receive Sh137 million for development in the year to June 2020.

The Treasury has since maintained the same budget in the 2020/21 financial year where each constituency will get Sh137 million inclusive of emergency reserve of Sh7.2 million.

The CDF board will retain Sh1.95 billion or 5 per cent of the total CDF budgetary allocation to administer the MPs-led Fund.

In 2014, MPs unanimously voted to increase the minimum amount of money allocated to each of the 290 constituencies to Sh100 million.

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