Ruto pushes House to entrench CDF in law

When President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua received the NADCO report from co-chairs Kimani Ichung'wah and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka on March 8, 2024. [DPCS]

President William Ruto has told lawmakers to fast-track the implementation of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report which seeks to entrench the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in law.

Speaking during the 20th anniversary of the constituency fund, Ruto criticised the National Assembly for the delay in passing the remaining eight Bills that were crafted by the bipartisan talks team to anchor the recommendations of NADCO report in the Constitution.

The Head of State was concerned that delay in the implementation of the bills, especially the one on NG-CDF, would attract court cases challenging the kitty.

“I gave you five aspects that I think will assist us as a country to consolidate our democracy and our development paradigm. One of them is to make CDF a constitutional provision. That way, we will stop litigants from all manner of games,” he said.

Key among the resolutions of the NADCO committee was the entrenchment of the Senate Oversight Fund, Ward Development Fund and NG-CDF in the Constitution. It also sought to re-introduce the office of the Official Opposition Leader and entrench the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary in law.

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“NADCO report is hanging somewhere in Parliament and I don’t know what it is. It was done. Can you the Majority and Minority Leaders speed up the implementation… stop taking tea in member's lounge and pass this thing,” added Ruto.

Terming NG-CDF an exemplifier of the bottom-up economic model,  Ruto urged MPs to use the money to create employment by, for instance, establishing ICT hubs.

He expressed concern that only 91 constituencies had made proposals for the establishment of ICT hubs to the Olago Oluoch-led NG-CDF board and encouraged the remaining 199 to take up the opportunity.

“I am asking myself what about the other 199? What is going on in their heads?” the President posed.

Ruto called on Kenyans to censure MPs who embezzle NG-CDF money and not re-elect them in the next election.

“Any MP who presides over the misappropriation of CDF should never be elected because it’s the ultimate betrayal of the people who elected you,” he remarked.

At the same time, the President revealed plans to implement a model mirroring that of the NG-CDF funding model to reduce the country's wage bill from 46 per cent to 35 per cent as required by the law.

Ruto said only five per cent of NG-CDF goes to administrative functions while the rest is used on development projects.

“It provides useful guidance on the resolve to confront the monster of unnecessary expenditure in order to direct maximum resources to development,” he said.

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula told off litigants who had moved to court seeking to have the fund declared unconstitutional.

“You need to change NG-CDF to meet any other requirements in society and we will facilitate you,” Wetang'ula said.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u said his ministry would disburse the Sh17.9 billion NG-CDF arrears by the end of the financial.

“Despite the global economic difficulties, the National Treasury has managed to disburse Sh40 billion to date,” he said.

The allocation of funds to NG-CDF comprises a 2.5 per cent of the national sharable revenue which amounts to approximately Sh53.53 billion.