Govt CDF kitty safe from boundaries review impact

This week, National Government Constituency Development Fund acting Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Mbuno responds to your questions.

1. Next year, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is set to review boundaries of all electoral wards and constituencies in Kenya. A section of Kenyans want some constituencies abolished and others merged to save on public spending on MPs and other benefits. How will such a review impact on constituency fund? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

The National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) comprises all monies of an amount not less than 2.5 per cent of all the national government share of revenue as determined by the Annual Division of Revenue Act.

It additionally includes any monies accruing or received by the NG-CDF Board from any other source.

The kitty is protected by the law to ensure that monies appropriated to the fund in any one financial year do not fall below the amount appropriated in the preceding financial year.

The change in the number of constituencies will not result in reduction of the allocation to the fund.


However, the annual allocation to each constituency will change depending on the number of constituencies.

In terms of allowances to MPs, they are remunerated from the Parliamentary Service Commission.

2. Sometimes in 2018, NG-CDF embarked on a journey to audit abandoned CDF projects. What were the findings of the exercise? Jerusha Keino, Belgut

The promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, whose full implementation commenced in 2013, necessitated the review of the law governing the fund (then CDF Act 2003) to conform to the supreme law of the land.

In particular, the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution clearly distributes functions between the national and county governments.

In this regard, the National Government CDF Act enacted 2015 as amended in 2016 clearly specifies that eligible projects under the fund are only those in respect to works and services falling within the functions of the national government under the Constitution.

Further, the projects must be community-based in order to ensure that the benefits are available to a majority of the inhabitants of a particular area.

This meant that from February 2016, the board stopped approving constituency project proposals falling under devolved functions.

This presented a challenge on how to treat uncompleted projects falling under county government functions, such as water, health and county roads.

The board embarked on a data collection exercise to identify incomplete devolved projects, including the outstanding works and the estimated cost of completion to facilitate consultation with pertinent agencies on the appropriate measures to implement the projects lawfully. The information analysis is ongoing.

3. Public involvement in CDF projects has been low and the major cause is lack of information on how CDF projects are identified and prioritised before funding. What are you doing to strengthen citizens’ participation? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

Section 27 of the NG-CDF Act requires the chairperson of the CDC to at least once in every two years convene open public forums in every ward to deliberate on development matters.

This forms the basis of the project proposals prioritised annually by each CDC and submitted to the National Board for approval.

Further, the board requires constituencies to use the information to develop a five-year Constituency Strategic Plan, in order to ensure that development projects reflect the will of the people.

The role of the EDC is to collate, analyse and rank the peoples priorities and link them to the County Integrated Development Plan and the national development agenda as outlined in five-year Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030.

The role of the MP in the fund is representation, legislation and oversight.

Specifically, Section 53 of NG-CDF Act establishes the Constituency Oversight Committee where the area MP with four other persons drawn from the constituency mobilise and sensitise wananchi on matters related to the fund, including soliciting views, opinions and proposals for presentation to the national assembly to inform legislation.

The board has prioritised information dissemination to sensitise wananchi on their roles with a view to strengthening their participation.

4. I understand that CDF money cannot be used for water projects these days. As such, we have a half-done water project in Mwimuto, Kabete Constituency. Can something be done to have such unfinished projects completed? Githuku Mungai

As already stated, the board is in the conclusive stage of analysing information gathered from the field to facilitate completion of ongoing projects falling under devolved functions. Mwimuto water project in Kabete Constituency falls under this category.

5. A good chunk of the CDF funds goes to financing bursary support to needy students, which I fully support. Is there a ceiling as to how much can be spent on bursaries? Githuku Mungai

The maximum amount that a constituency can allocate for education bursary is 35 per cent of its total annual allocation.

However, the amount granted to a particular student is determined by the NG-CDF committee based on the financial needs of each applicant, the number of deserving applicants and resources set aside for bursaries by each constituency.

6. Currently, allocation of funds to constituencies is largely based on the size of a constituency with little consideration for population. There have been proposals to give population prominence in the allocation of funds. What is your take on this? Bruce Wanyonyi, Nakuru

The annual budget ceiling for each constituency is determined by the board pursuant to Section 6 of the Act, based on the criterion of equal share to each of the 290 constituencies after deducting the budgetary allocation to the board as provided for in section 23 (1).

However, the board has received proposals to review the criterion of equal share to take into consideration constituencies’ peculiarities such as land size, population, poverty index, number of electoral wards, and other socioeconomic parameters in order to enhance equity.

The proposals are being considered with a view to making necessary recommendations to the National Assembly’s Select Committee on NG-CDF.

7. When the CDF kitty was introduced in 2003, constituencies started realising some development. However, the same has been abused in most of constituencies. I would like to know if you are aware of the massive corruption at Kimilili CDF, whereby purported bursary beneficiaries’ names were pinned on the notice board indicating the amount of money they had been awarded in the past financial year yet the money was never sent to schools. In such a case, what is the intervention? Edward B. Wekesa, Kimilili

True, the advent of NG-CDF revolutionised development in various parts of the country by empowering the communities to identify and implement projects that address local problems.

The board recognises corruption as a major development challenge.

It is for this reason that the board has integrated corruption prevention and retribution in its programmes.

We encourage any person with information that can help in deterring corruption to share it with the board or relevant government agencies.

On the Kimilili case, the affected persons are advised to share specific information with the board to facilitate necessary action.

8. One of the likely motivations that swayed Kenyans to endorse the 2010 Constitution was the success witnessed with CDF. Devolution was to further this but unfortunately it has had more than enough challenges even as CDF grows from strength to strength. Sir, what has been the secret on the management NG-CDF in delivering its mandate? Are these structures and strategies sustainable? Komen Moris, Eldoret

True, NG-CDF played a big role in demonstrating gains that may accrue from decentralising resources to the grass roots.

One of the lessons learnt from NG-CDF is that wananchi are capable of managing and accounting for public resources while implementing projects in a cost-effective way.

By decentralising responsibility to the people, accountability and transparency is enhanced.

The NG-CDF model enhances efficiency in the utilisation of scarce resources by accommodating community friendly project implementation approaches.

9. Under what circumstances would a government official sit in the meetings of the Project Management Committees (PMCs)? Charles Kironji

As provided for in Section 41(2) of the NG-CDF Act, a community is required to maintain an elected committee to represent its interests during and after implementation of the project.

Section 36 on the other hand says that projects under the Act are implemented by PMCs assisted by relevant departments of government.

The role of government officers is to provide technical guidance to the PMCs in order to ensure compliance with technical specifications and policy requirements.

The government officers may sit in the PMC meeting as ex-officio participants, by virtue of their positions.

10. What is the composition of the PMC? What process ought to be followed to seal any loopholes for favouritism in selection of PMC members? Charles Kironji

The PMC is constituted by the community to represent that community during and after project implementation as provided for in section 41(2) of the Act.

Implementation of projects through PMC therefore ensures community involvement and sustainability of the project.

As a community organ, the PMC should adhere to its constitution to regulate its operations subject to Regulations 15, 16, 17 and 18.

Regulation 16(1) specifically gives guidance on the composition of PMCs, clearly stating that where a project is implemented in an existing institution, the management committee of that institution shall serve as the PMC.

Regulation 16(3) on the other hand sets the PMC membership at a maximum of 5, the composition of which shall observe the two-thirds gender rule.

11 Year-in, year-out we read media reports about cases of corruption involving funds meant for constituency development. How is corruption affecting the fund and what measures do you have in place to tame the vice? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

The management of NG-CDF programme is generally good, as demonstrated by the fact that 66 per cent of the Auditor General’s reports for the 290 constituencies fall between the categories of unqualified and qualified opinion, with much fewer constituencies falling in the categories of adverse and disclaimer opinions.

Further, going by the feedback received from wananchi, the NG-CDF projects implemented across the country are a great success.

It is important that we also highlight success stories which actually outweigh the challenges.

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