MPs reschedule debate on supplementary estimates

By Nelly Moraa, Henry Okello/Samson Kitavi

MPs have for the second time postponed debate on the supplementary estimates denying the government an additional shs19.6 billion, in protest over inadequate constituency development fund CDF allocation.

In a united move, members of the National assembly adjourned debate on the estimates demanding that the budget committee amend its report to include an allocation of shs5.4 billion towards CDF.

Leading the protest, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo pushed for the amendment arguing that failure to include the shs 5.4 billion that had been factored in the current financial year is contrary to section 4(2) of the CDF act.

He said the act provides that the government must give not less than 2.5 per cent to the CDF kitty any financial year.

Midiwo protested moves by the executive and a proposal by the budget committee to have the monies factored in the next financial year.

MPs also questioned the reallocation of the remaining shs5.4 billion CDF funds, with Githunguri MP Njoroge Baiya describing it a worrying trend.

Attempts by the chairman of the budget and appropriations committee Mutava Musyimi and the CDF committee chair Moses Lessonet to plead with MPs to exercise patience until the next financial year which they claim was 10 days away were futile.

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno questioned how ongoing projects budget for in the current financial year will be completed if the funds are appropriated in the next financial year.

MPs expressed fears that transferring the funds to the next financial year will reduce next financial year’s allocation and result to pending bills owed CDF projects.

However the leader of majority differed with the MPs insisting that the monies will be factored in the appropriation bill 2013/2014.

He said already the government had disbursed shs6.3 billion to the CDF boards and since the CDF committees were recently gazetted, time was needed for the CDF boards to be instituted.

But MPs insisted that the executive appropriate the monies in the supplementary budget even if it intends to disburse it next year, claiming that they can handle delays but not reallocation.

CDF chair Moses Lessonet said a court case stopping the disbursement of funds to CDF boards prior to the general election contributed to the delay by the executive to disburse the funds however assuring members that beginning this week, the shs6.3 billion disbursed will be sent to the CDF accounts.

However majority of MPs would have none of it demanding that the whole allocation of shs11.7billion be released. The issue saw a member of the budget and appropriations committee Manson Nyamweya move to adjourn the motion pending the amendments proposed by the MPs.

He cited standing order 96, which allows postponement of debate to a matter which has been proposed.

The motion was unanimously endorsed rescheduling debate on the supplementary estimates for the second time.

Last week debate was adjourned to allow the budget and appropriations committee scrutinize the estimates and compile a report on why the government had failed to allocate monies to CDF.

The committee in its report tabled in the national assembly this afternoon grilled the Cabinet secretary National secretary on the issue and was convinced that the allocation will be rolled out in the next financial year and the funds immediately disbursed immediately at the beginning of the financial year.

The committee also rejected a shs700 million allocation for the purchase of an office for the retired President on grounds that the office was not a subject of supplementary estimates.

The committee says the estimates are supposed to cater for unforeseen expenditures in accordance with Article223 (1) (a). The committee described the proposal a costly and one that is bound to set a dangerous precedent.

The committee also revoked treasury’s decision to reduce funds for the construction of a building by the Kenya National examination council.

The committee was of the view that the project has been dragged and enough funds should be allocated to complete the project.

The committee faulted the executive for spending shs1.89 billion in additional funds to the Free Secondary Education and shs1.billion without seeking parliamentary approval.

The budget committee in its report has reduced the development vote by shs29.12 billion from the national revenue and shs20.6 billion from loans.

The government is seeking shs19. 6 billion with shs13.3 billion for recurrent and shs4.7 billion in development.

Meanwhile Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi is demanding a statement from the budget committee in relation to the government’s move to reduce budgetary allocation to the auditor general from shs6.1 billion to shs1.8 billion.

Linturi says the reduction is contrary to the public audit act and is bound to compromise on its oversight role.

He wants to know how the executive would wish to have the office function with inadequate resources in view of a devolved system of government.