National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u has told off Members of Parliament over their push to release billions of shillings for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), citing a cash crunch that has crippled government operations.
Ndung’u, who appeared before the National Assembly Finance and National Planning Committee, said President William Ruto’s administration had been stretched thin and blamed the lack of NG-CDF funds on reallocations to mitigate drought and flooding calamities.
“In one year, Kenya has gone from one extreme which is drought to another which is floods and in both cases we have allocated recurrent and development budgets to save lives because we have also not being collecting enough taxes,” said Ndung’u.
The CS maintained that the country was laden with liquidity issues given the various debt burdens and asked MPs to be patient as the administration figures out a way to have the funds disbursed before Christmas Day.
MPs from the 290 constituencies receive approximately Sh130 million each in NG-CDF funding from the Exchequer but the funds for the current financial year have not been forthcoming.
Ndung’u also foretold a grim future for civil servants as he was non-committal on whether they will receive their December salaries before proceeding for the holidays.
“This administration is doing its best to ensure that we do not slide the country into insolvency. That is why we have to engage in a delicate balancing act with the available finances,” added the CS.
The former Central Bank of Kenya Governor, however, said the government was getting into agreements with other countries that would come to the financial rescue of the country.
“The liquidity problem is in the short term. We are signing support agreements with other countries that have committed to supporting our budget,” added Ndungu.
The Kimani Kuria-led committee could however hear none of it and demanded that the CS hives off budgets from elsewhere to fund the CDF kitty before MPs proceed for recess today.
It also sought to know why the delay in release of of NG-CDF funds had become a common occurrence.
Baringo North MP Joseph Makilap urged the CS to repurpose funds meant for the fertiliser subsidy and channel them towards the CDF kitty as a short-term measure to alleviate the students’ plight.
Karachuonyo MP Andrew Adipo said the future of children in the country was equally important and and as such the hole of bursary funds must be plugged urgently.
“If we dare proceed for recess without the bursaries, we as MPs will be plunging ourselves into problems with the electorate,” he said.
MPs on Tuesday paralysed House business over delay by the Treasury to disburse the CDF funds and vowed to continue with their protest today.
The MPs drawn from across the political divide were also adamant that they would not proceed for recess until the monies were wired into their accounts.