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Constituencies Development Fund Board ups hiring ahead of new fiscal year

BUSINESS
By By Nicholas Waitathu | June 3rd 2013

By Nicholas Waitathu

The Constituencies Development Fund Board has embarked on a major move to strength its human capacity ahead of the new financial year, which begins on July 1, 2013.

The board is recruiting 100 new employees to ensure timely allocation and disbursement of funds to every constituency and prudent management of the funds.

Acting Chief executive officer Yusuf Mbuno said the recruitment plan is intended to tap from the local labour market staff to ensure efficient management of devolved funds.

The employees to be hired include a Corporation secretary, an Assistant Legal officer, four Internal auditors, and 94 fund account managers. Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was established through the CDF Act in the Kenya Gazette Supplement No 107 (Act No 11) of January 9, 2004, which had been enacted by Parliament in 2003.

CDF targets constituency- level development projects, particularly those aiming to combat poverty at the grassroots.

The fund is geared towards activating development activities at the constituency in order to reduce poverty, to promote equity on sharing of national resources, and therefore reduce imbalances in regional development.

Budgetary allocation

Further, the fund is focused on providing opportunities for local communities to get involved in development planning and project implementation through their groups and institutions. The fund comprises an annual budgetary allocation equivalent to 2.5 per cent of the government’s ordinary revenue.

The money is allocated according to each constituency poverty levels with the poorest getting the highest.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the fund will be shared amongst 290 constituencies unlike before when the money was being allocated to 210 electoral areas.

The CDF board receives annual reports and returns from constituencies and ensures compilation of proper records, returns and reports from the constituencies.

It also receives and addresses complaints and disputes and takes appropriate action, and scrutinises and approves project proposals from the constituencies.

It refers disapproved project proposals to the parliamentary Constituency Fund Committee for direction.

However, the new regulations for the Constituency Development Fund have clipped lawmakers’ powers in the Fund’s administration.

MPS’ role

The CDF Act, 2013, redefines the role of MPs in line with the Constitution and allows them to participate merely in mobilising community members for project identification.

The MPs’ other roles include calling for Ward meetings to enable the people to propose membership to CDF committees to decide on projects on priority basis.

This means MPs can no longer allocate projects to reward their cronies and none can make decisions arbitrarily regarding the usage of funds.

Administration of the Fund has now been effectively transferred to a board official — sent to each constituency — who will act as the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) holder and thus accountable for any loss or embezzlement of the money.

MPs will henceforth sit on constituency fund committees as ex-official members exercising only the oversight role on projects.

Highest allocation

As at 2011/12-?nancial year, the CDF had been allocated a total of Sh85.6 billion. The amount has progressively increased since the initial Sh1.2 billion was allocated in 2003/04 with each constituency then getting Sh6 million.  In 2011/12, the highest allocation to a constituency, Mandera Central, stood at Sh149.5 million.

In order to help the board fulfill its mandate, the new personnel would be expected to discharge certain duties.

For example, the Corporation secretary would be responsible for ensuring proper procedure for appointment of directors, provide guidance and counsel within the board on matters of business ethics and good governance and handle board litigation matters.

The fund account managers would among others be required to prepare and submit books of accounts.

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