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House committee wants Constituency Development Fund given Sh12b more

COUNTIES
By Alphonce Shiundu | March 11th 2014

By Alphonce Shiundu

Kenya: MPs want an additional Sh12 billion allocated to the 290 constituencies under the Constituency Development Fund.

The MPs also want Sh5 million given to each of the 210 constituencies that benefited from the Economic Stimulus Package. They say the money should go toward completing the centres of excellence — the model high schools that were built at the height of the global financial crisis.

The resolution to increase the CDF money  from the current Sh23 billion to Sh35 billion was arrived at last week at a closed-door meeting of the Budget and Appropriations Committee, which was attended by 23 MPs.

“The committee recommended that the increased funds should prioritise improvement of infrastructure in public primary schools,” reads minutes of the meeting seen by The Standard.

According to the CDF Act, the CDF allocation is 2.5 per cent of all the country’s ordinary revenues. The Kenya Revenue Authority projects to raise Sh982.9 billion in the 2014-2015 financial year meaning that the CDF allocation will be Sh24.57 billion.

It is not clear why the MPs want the money increased to Sh35 billion or what their basis for the clamour for more money is.

In a report of the Budget and Appropriations Committee on the Budget Policy Statement, the lawmakers also wanted to retain the allocation to the counties at the current Sh210 billion, and not the Sh221 billion that the National Treasury had proposed in the Division of Revenue Bill, 2014.

Spend prudently

The MPs argued that the controller of Budget and the Auditor General had already shown that counties had no capacity to absorb the money and to spend it prudently.

The committee says that most of the counties are living beyond their means and many of them don’t know how to draw budgets.

Meanwhile, a Member of Parliament has asked the County Government of Nakuru to ensure prudent management of resources to avoid wastage.

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri said reports that the county had spent Sh980 million on hospitality and trips outside the country were disturbing.

He said the cost of foreign trips incurred both by the county government and assembly is exaggerated.

Area Governor Kinuthia Mbugua is among the governors summoned by the Senate standing Committee on Finance and Commerce to shed light on the report by the Auditor General on unexplained expenditures.

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