MPs target doubling CDF kitty to Sh88bn – Business Daily
MPs take the oath of office at the National Assembly on September 8, 2022. PHOTO | NMG
MPs have tabled two Bills to amend the Constitution in the fight to retain the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), opening a new battlefront with civil society that got the Supreme Court to declare the kitty unconstitutional.
The two Bills seek to entrench the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), where constituencies will be entitled to at least five percent of the total annual revenue due to the national government.
Currently, the law sets aside 2.5 percent of the total revenue raised nationally to be shared among the constituencies.
The Supreme Court in August ruled that the CDF Act, 2013 violates the principle of separation of powers, a ruling that took the kitty from lawmakers, occasioning protests from MPs.
The ruling was a big blow to MPs given that it has been a key political tool for lawmakers who use it as a campaign tool through projects.
The new Parliament has dismissed the Supreme Court ruling, arguing the current fund is being implemented under a new law—NG-CDF, 2015-and not the CDF Act, 2013, which was declared unconstitutional.
Matungulu MP Stephen Mule and his Gichugu counterpart Robert Gichumu have tabled separate Bills aimed at amending the Constitution to entrench the CDF.
“The two Members (Mr Mule and Mr Gichumu) are proposing to amend the Constitution to anchor the National Government Constituency Development Fund in the Constitution,” Moses Wetang’ula, the National Assembly Speaker, told MPs last week.
A draft constitutional amendment Bill sponsored by Mr Mule seeks to entrench the NG-CDF and three other funds in the Constitution.
The Bill seeks to amend Article 204 of the Constitution to entrench the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), which is controlled by 47 Woman Representatives.
The Bill further seeks to establish the Senate Oversight Fund and the Economic Stimulus and Empowerment Fund.
“There is established the National Government Constituency Development Fund which shall be a national government fund consisting of monies of an amount of not less than 5 percent of all the national government share of revenue as divided by the Annual Division of Revenue Act pursuant to Article 118 of the Constitution,” the Bill states.
The Division of Revenue Act provides for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national and county levels of government.
The Treasury allocated the NG-CDF Sh44.3 billion in the current financial year and the kitty could double to Sh88 billion annually if MPs approve the proposal.
Each constituency receives at least Sh137 million and the legislators have used the kitty for community development projects.
Mr Mule wants the annual Sh2 billion NGAAF, which was established through the Public Finance Management Act, anchored in the Supreme law to complement national government programmes.
He wants the fund pegged at not less than one percent of all the national government share of revenue as divided by the Annual Division of Revenue Act.
The Bill also proposes the establishment of the Senate Oversight Fund whose monies shall not be less than 0.5 percent of all the national government share of revenue determined by the Annual Division of Revenue Act.
“The entrenchment of the Constitution will ensure that the critical role of the Funds in promoting the development of national government projects and empowerment is safeguarded as well as ensuring the Funds are not subject to abuse,” Mr Mule said.
It will require two-thirds or 233 MPs of the 349 lawmakers to approve the constitutional bills.
The amendment Bills follow President William Ruto’s appeal to MPs to to protect the Fund during his inaugural speech to Parliament.
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