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Treasury blamed for funds delay

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya has blamed his counterparts in the Roads and Finance Ministries for delaying the release of the Fuel Levy Funds in order to make them available for constituencies’ development.
Mr Oparanya said on Monday that his office had not received the Sh4.4 billion which had been projected to go into the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) thereby delaying projects at the grassroots level.

“We have not been able to get the infrastructure component and I hope that those concerned are working on that so that the money is transferred to CDF and as soon as we receive it, we will distribute it equally in accordance with the Fuel Levy Act,” he said.

In the 2009/2010 fiscal year, the CDF kitty was allocated Sh12.3 billion which is inclusive of the Sh4.4 billion. However, Sh370 million is to be used for administrative costs leaving approximately Sh11.9 billion which is to be shared among all the constituencies.

At a media briefing, the Minister however expressed confidence that his ministry would receive about Sh6.2 billion which had been earmarked in the CDF kitty for projects in the second quarter of the year. So far, he said they have only received Sh2.6 billion from the Treasury instead of the Sh3.1 billion that they were expecting.

At the same time, Mr Oparanya said a report by the taskforce which was formed to advice on how to strengthen the legal and administrative structures of the CDF systems should ready by the end of this month.

The team, which was constituted in June, has been working together with government officers at the district level to ensure the funds are used for the intended purposes and can be accounted for.

The ministry last week extended their deadline to the end of this month, after they requested for more time to compile a comprehensive report.

“We are hopeful by the end of the month, we will have a report plus the recommendations that we plan to undertake, hopefully by the end of the year,” the Minister added.

There have been calls to review the CDF Act in order to streamline the operations of the devolved funds and enhance its efficiency and accountability.

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Although the kitty is now deeply entrenched at the grassroots level since its inception in the 2003/2004 financial year, it has been faced by a myriad of challenges among them planning; selection and prioritisation of projects as well as low utilisation of the completed facilities.These challenges are particularly evident in the health sector.

The review of the systems is therefore expected to help address these problems.

Meanwhile, Mr Oparanya said his office had received funds from the Treasury to pay all the enumerators who took part in the National Population and Housing Census.

“We received all the money that we budgeted for last week but one. We will start effecting the payments for those people without bank accounts on Friday,” Mr Oparanya assured.

Some of the enumerators have had to wait for almost two months since the exercise concluded before they could be paid their dues.

He blamed the delay on the invalid bank accounts and ID numbers that many officials had submitted which took long period of time to verify the large number of personnel who conducted the exercise.

However, Mr Oparanya assured them that the contracts which they signed with the government were still valid until all of them were paid and appealed to them to exercise patience.

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