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Storm in Parliament as MPs demand constituency kitty

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 04:57 | By
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula on his way to the chambers during the resumption of the session on Tuesday. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula on his way to the chambers during the resumption of the session on Tuesday. PHOTO/Kenna Claude

Tempers flared in the National Assembly as members demanded the release of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) money.

MPs from across the political divide took on National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u for failing to release the monies despite it being only 10 percent of the National Government sharable revenue.

During a heated session, the lawmakers accused Ndung’u and Treasury mandarins of lying to Speaker Moses Wetangula that the money would be released before their Christmas break yet this did not happen.

The anger by the MPs came after the NG-CDF chairperson and Eldama Ravine MP Musa Sirma tabled a report before the House assuring them that the National Treasury had agreed to release Sh10 billion every month for the next five months.

In his brief to the House, Sirma said that the total budget allocation for 2023/24 stands at Sh57.9 billion out of which Sh4.4 billion was allocated to the fund under Supplementary Estimate I where by Sh3.4 billion was distributed to 290 constituencies as a conditional grant towards construction of classrooms and integrated learning centres with junior secondary schools.

School infrastructure

In addition, he said that another Shbillion was allocated to the 17 constituencies in Nairobi county for school infrastructure development.

He said: “Plans are underway to release the Sh10 billion by the end of February and in the subsequent months release Sh10 billion every month.”

In December last year, the Treasury released Sh31 billion for bursaries and promised to disburse the remaining balance before the House resumed from the long recess.

The NG-CDF Act requires that the 290 constituencies equally share 75 percent of the annual NG-CDF allocation, with the rest distributed based on the number of wards in each constituency. Each constituency is entitled to Sh137 million per financial year.

But immediately he was done, MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Leader of Minority), Beatrice Elachi (Dagoretti North), Joseph Makilap (Baringo North), Martha Wangari (Gilgil), John Mbadi (Nominated), Nabii Nabwera(Lugari) and Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga) termed the statement as under whelming and demanded that Ndung’u apologises to Speaker as well as orders the release of the said funds before the week ends failure to which they would paralyse business.

While expressing their anger and frustrations, the lawmakers said that learners in schools are suffering as they have no capitation since bursaries are yet to be sent, adding that those schools that have so far received nothing only accounts for about 20 percent.

Said Wandayi: “The statement issued by the chair of the committee dealing with NGCDF is thoroughly underwhelming. We would have expected to hear from the chair that this much money has since been disbursed to the constituencies and above the Sh10b received in January.

This House must put its foot down.” Elachi regretted that in Nairobi county, they have been forced to make makeshift schools for learners to enable them continue learning.

Sharing of funds

Wangari regretted that learners have suffered as they have been kicked out of school due to lack of fees mainly because there was no bursary to bail them out.

She said: “We have suffered and our children especially those in JSS are suffering and risk being sent home because there is no infrastructure and lockers in these schools. This money is not for MPs but for the whole country.”

Makilap said that moving forward they will ensure that before they approve any budgets they will ensure that the first charge should be for NG-CDF.

He said: “I am shocked to the bone marrow. This is my first time in Parliament I am seeing MPs behaving like they are in government. I believe that moving forward, before we appropriate any funds to any ministry the first charge should be on CDF.

Mbadi said that for the 15 years he has been an MP, legislators have never gone home for their Christmas break with only 50 percent of the total NG-CDF money being released.

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