By Emily Kenik
The High Court has stopped National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich from releasing Sh25 billion set aside for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) this financial year.
Judge Joseph Onguto has issued the temporary order in a case filed by Wanjiru Gikonyo and Cornelius Opout, who have moved to court to challenge the NGCDF Act.
The Judge certified the case as urgent ordering the file to be taken to the office of the Chief Justice so that a bench is constituted to hear and determine the matter.
Judge Onguto said he could not rule on the constitutionality of the new CDF law at the moment as the matter needed further interrogation.
Meanwhile, the much awaited new Public Servants Pension Scheme is expected to become operational by the end of this month.
The Public Service Superannuation Scheme will replace the current non-contributory Civil Service Pension Scheme with enhanced remunerations.
CS Rotich his ministry has started the process of setting up the administrative units such as the board of trustees to identify the fund managers to handle what is expected to be the largest retirement scheme in the region.
The government has been struggling with rising pension liabilities as the effects of an aging public service take toll on public coffers. The national treasury budgetary estimates show that the annual pension bill could hit 66 billion shillings in the current financial year exerting pressure on public coffers.
The bill has risen from Sh15 billion in 2002. In 2009 the government increased the retirement age for public servant from 55 to 60 years to give it room to reorganize its pension bills. However the cock has now come to crow with more than 20 thousand workers expected to retire from the public service this year.
Speaking during the signing of a 36 billion shillings funding from the world bank Rotich said under the new scheme public servants will transfer their savings to new employers without losing their benefits.
Those above the age of 50 years will be given the option to join the new scheme or remain in the old scheme.
Public service cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki says the public service commission has put in enough measures to deal with the rising number of retiring workers.
Also facing a crisis is the education sector where thousands of teachers are also expected to leave the teaching fraternity, with education cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi saying more than 5 thousand teachers will be hired in the current financial year.
Under the new scheme the government will contribute 15 per cent of its payroll obligation to scheme each month, while civil servants will add 7.5 per cent.
The 36 billion shillings World Bank grant will go towards improving the health and the education sectors in the country.
Elsewhere, National assembly speaker Justin Muturi has faulted a court ruling which declared the constituency development fund unconstitutional.
According to Muturi the ruling was against the wishes of Many Kenyans who benefited from fund. Speaking at Simoti Secondary School in Konoin constituency, Bomet County after opening a library funded by CDF, Muturi proposed the national and county governments should consult and resolve the CDF dispute outside the courts.
National assembly deputy speaker Joyce Laboso urged the County governments to focus more on development issues rather than politics and trying to wrestle CDF kitty from MPs. Konoin member of parliament Sammy Koech who was the host urged the National and county government to work amicably.