, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – The government will soon set up a committee of experts to review the operational structures of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya disclosed on Wednesday that the team would work together with government officers at the district level to ensure the funds are used for the intended purposes and that they can be accounted for.
“They will look at the entire structures of CDF. We want to find a way of integrating the technical people at the district level so that there is adequate technical input before all CDF projects are implemented,” he said.
Since Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta announced various proposals in his budget speech to channel more funds to the constituency level, there have been calls for the speedy implementation of accountability measures to reduce misappropriation of these monies. The taskforce will have one month to make their report which will guide amendments to the CDF act.
The suggestions stemmed from the mistrust in Members of Parliament who have been accused of diverting money meant for the development projects in their areas for their own use.
In the budget, Mr Kenyatta allocated Sh12 billion to the kitty and a further 22 percent of the Roads Maintenance Levy for maintenance of rural roads would be provided through the fund. However, members of the public have questioned with the manner in which many legislators have spent the CDF money and whether they can be trusted with more.
While acknowledging that there are weaknesses in the CDF system, Mr Oparanya sought to assure the public that the only amount that ends up in people’s pockets is just two percent of the total funds allocated to these constituencies. Another 18 percent, he explained is wasted in projects that are not viable.
He said this gap has been identified and that is what the government was trying to fill by putting in place measures that would seal these loopholes in order to enhance performance of the devolved funds.
“We might not have this overnight but we will start somewhere so that when this money is taken to the constituencies, there is proper identification and monitoring of projects, proper training of people handling the funds and adequate staffing,” he explained.
The minister appealed to development partners and other stakeholders to help finance these reviews and ensure the continued flow of the funds to the grass root level and thus the success of this program.