MPs resume induction after Treasury releases Ksh4B NG-CDF funds
Members of the National Assembly have resumed their induction proceedings after the National Treasury released Ksh4 billion for the National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF).
The leaders, who had boycotted the induction session on Tuesday, January 24 over the delayed release of NG-CDF money, called on the Treasury to ensure timely disbursement of the funds on a weekly basis as agreed upon last December.
The irate MPs walked out of induction for members of various parliamentary committees charging that they could not afford to spend millions of taxpayers’ money attending a retreat in a five-star hotel while their constituents suffered due to the failure to disburse the money.
The MPs claimed that various functions had stalled due to Treasury’s failure to release the Sh10 billion.
While addressing the press shortly after walking out, National assembly NG-CDF chairman Musa Sirma said the retreat would not proceed unless the Treasury disbursed the funds.
Sirma warned that the MPs would not allow Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u to address the convention unless the money is reflected in the CDF accounts at the constituencies.
“For us to remain here spending taxpayers’ money when Kenyans are suffering is totally unethical. We will stop every engagement until the funds are released,” said Sirma.
He explained that the funds were crucial given that schools reopened yesterday for the first term of the 2023 academic year.
Many MPs pay school fees for needy learners through NGCDF-funded bursaries.
“How can you tell us we are sleeping in tourist hotels and orphans are not going to school, if we are not given CDF then the meeting should be called off,” said Kathiani MP Robert Mbui.
Mbui added: “We do not have any other business to discuss. The schools have opened and orphans and needy students need to go to schools, we cannot sit here while issues are going wrong outside.”
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris kicked off the storm when she demanded the release of the NGAAF monies saying that the continued delay in the disbursement had negatively affected women entrepreneurs.
“County Women Representatives are also looking for the same NGAAF money, we should start with issues which are contentious CDF being one of them,” said Passaris.
Rarieda MP Otiende Omolo said it was impossible to enforce the government’s 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school policy without the CDF kitty which is used to issue bursaries to bright but needy learners.
“Treasury must tell us when are they releasing the money. Any other agenda is null and void,” he stated.
Before the meeting was disrupted, National Assembly acting Clerk Sarah Kioko told the committees to work within their budgets before Treasury releases more money.
She said departmental committees should reduce their activities in line with the limited budgets.
“We have a constrained budget and the number of committees has increased by ten and therefore we have asked the committees to tighten their belt until the new budgets,” said Kioko.
The joint induction workshop of different committees seeks to enlighten members on the roles and functions of parliamentary committees.
The MPs are also expected to be taken through the corrective measures being undertaken by Parliament in ensuring that the future of the National Government Constituency Development Fund is assured.