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MPs win CDF battle

NAIROBI, September 16 – The government has given in to pressure by Members of Parliament over disbursement of Constituency Development Funds (CDF), by opting to revert to an older poverty index.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said on Tuesday that though the government had finalised the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/06 the ministry had decided not to use its poverty numbers in the allocation of CDF funds.

“We have been using statistics for the census carried out in 1998 and obviously these numbers are not reflective of the current poverty figures,” he emphasised.

Parliamentarians had raised objections to the use of the 2005/06 survey to determine CDF allocations arguing that it did not portray actual needs on the ground.

The minister further noted that the use of the new statistics would further affect implementation of projects in about 110 constituencies who had not put in proposals by the deadline of March this year.

Oparanya said the CDF budgetary allocation for the 2008/09 fiscal year was Sh10.1 billion. “Five percent of the fund has been set aside for emergency and three percent to cater for administrative costs,” he explained, adding that three quarters of the amount was divided equally among all constituencies while the rest was distributed according to the poverty levels.

Bahari Constituency received the highest amount at Sh60 million, while Mvita was allocated the least at Sh35 million.

A number of new MPs to the tenth Parliament had indicated that they were not keen to implement some of the projects started by their predecessors.

However Oparanya said under the CDF Act that could only happen if the MP’s concerned can prove that the projects in question were impossible to implement.

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He further revealed that plans were underway to review the CDF Act to make provision for funding in the agricultural sector.

Oparanya observed that though farming was one of the country’s main economic activities it was not catered for by these funds.

“Members of the public should be allowed to have access to a revolving fund through an agency like Poverty Eradication Commission that would manage it to ensure farmers have access to credit,” he said.

“We spend too much money to import food however we can give this money to farmers to increase productivity and end this vicious cycle.”

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