Treasury bows to MPs’ push, releases Sh4 billion

Thursday, January 26th, 2023 13:03 | By
Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Ndindi Nyoro speaks to the press in Mombasa yesterday after the resolution of the NG-CDF stalemate. PD/Bonface Msangi

The National Treasury has finally released Sh4 billion to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), the bulk of which will go to bursaries.

Treasury yesterday bowed to pressure from MPs and released the money, the latest allocation to the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

Thousands needy students risked missing classes for lack of fees after schools opened this week for the first term.

Many learners depend on the NG-CDF funded bursaries to pay fees.

Following Treasury’s move, MPs currently attending an induction workshop in Mombasa resumed sessions.

The over 200 MPs had boycotted the workshop for two days and vowed to paralyse parliamentary sessions until the funds were released.

In November last year, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u told MPs that he was willing to release Sh2 billion weekly starting the following month, should the Attorney General clear the payments.

Ndung’u said the Treasury could not disburse the Sh44.3 billion allocated to the NG-CDF due to challenges in the transition to the new government, delayed disbursements from the International Monetary Fund, huge pending bills, fuel subsidies and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

National assembly NG-CDF committee chair Musa Sirma confirmed the release of the money after it reflected in CDF accounts.

“They released Sh2 billion on Tuesday and a similar amount this morning (Wednesday) and they have promised to release another Sh2 billion on Tuesday next week which translates to every constituency getting Sh34 million to start off the bursary allocation,” said Sirma.

Full amount

The fund currently operates under the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) Act 2015.

Although this law has not been declared illegal, a petition of a similar nature to the 2013 Act has been filed in court.

The row was amicably solved when Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula convened a one hour meeting with the legislators after which they announced the end of the deadlock.

“We want to thank the President and the Speaker for having taken our cry as a serious agenda because without it this meeting would not have taken place,” said Sirma.

Earlier, chairs of different committees had convened a separate meeting to help solve the impasse.

According to Sirma, all constituencies will now receive Sh34 million when the full amount is released.

The legislators promised to get back to their committees to compensate for time lost.

“I don’t know where they got the money. For us, what we wanted is money. We don’t know where they got it from,” said Sirma.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who is the chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, said they were ready to proceed with the meeting until Saturday because many important discussions were disrupted when MPs walked out of the retreat.

His Kipipiri counterpart Wanjiku Muhia confirmed that money had already been reflected in the accounts.

“We are happy this matter has been resolved. We are now ready to get to retreat because all that we wanted has been resolved,” said Muhia.

Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba expressed joy, saying learners who depend on bursaries can now go to school.

The lawmakers had threatened to table an impeachment motion against Ndung’u had he failed to release the money by yesterday evening.

No party lines

Bundalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala denied that there was division along party lines, even as it was evident that Kenya Kwanza MPs played calm on the matter.

The MPs questioned why Treasury was quick to release money for the Hustler Fund but delayed in releasing NG-CDF money.

“It has nothing to do with the party. We are all members of Parliament and we are speaking in one voice. It’s a national parliamentary issue that involves all of us,” said Paul Katana, Kaloleni MP.

Reuben Kiborek (Mogotio) said MPs will continue to push for the full release of the remaining money to ensure learners don’t suffer.

Seme MP James Nyikal said failure to release NG-CDF funds means all constituency development projects will stall.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino said it is the right of students to get an education but it was being breached by the Treasury for failure to release the funds. Owino said all MPs were united on the matter.

“We are all united by the yoke of poverty. Our common interest is the interest of the people,” said Owino.

Morris Kakai (Kiminini) said they will not allow party differences to divide them as they fight for NG-CDF allocations.

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