, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11 – As legislators haggle over devolution of power, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has taken the cue in decentralising resource allocation to the constituencies.
In what could be described as an ambitious budget of sorts, Mr Kenyatta has proposed to allocate funds to cater for basic facilities in key sectors of health, education, roads, agriculture and industrialisation to make every part of the country access the very basic of development. With good political will and prudent financial management the self-styled Finance Minister said was a customised financial stimulus which aims to cushion the common man against the social economic challenges.
The proposal immediately made him a hero among his fellow legislators coming close to a standing ovation from MPs who will now have the privilege of controlling a larger share of the development funds than before.
“What the Minister has done is to reorganise the resources available in a different way and this is what this country needed. All this money has been there all along only that it has not been used well,” Agriculture Minister William Ruto said in his support for the devolved budget.
Nominated MP Rachael Shebesh said: “The Constituency Development Fund has proved that it can work well so we are happy that more resources have been given to it because many times line ministries have continued to return money to the Treasury.”
“The most exciting area is the setting up of mobile ICT laboratories. With this no child suffers on account of distance since they will be available,” Education Minister Sam Ongeri said.
Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo was also excited at the new devolution based spending.
“You see devolution in the real sense instead of talking about devolution of power in the constitution,” Mr Kilonzo said.
Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale however remained cautious on utilisation of the funds noting that the country lacks good safeguard measures of accountability.
“Members of her public should not think that we have the money. Money is still in the hand of the civil servants only that what they are required to do is to do the accounting at the constituency treasury unlike has been the case where what was operating was the district treasury,” he said.
MPs are however cautious that addition of the funds calls for more responsibility in managing the resources.
“This is like a double ended sword. The way we (MPs) use the funds will determine whether they get the approval of their constituents. The better they manage it the higher the return of them to the house or else they will face the sack,” Mr Ruto cautioned.
“The issue of accountability will be in play,” Mr Kilonzo said in his caution.
German Ambassador Walter Lindner was also in hand to congratulate the Minister for the decentralisation.
“The idea is good to stimulate the common man, let us see if this is financed through more taxes,” he said.
Every constituency will be entitled to equipped health centre at a cost of Sh20 million and equipped jua kali sheds at a cost of Sh2.5 million. Rural roads in the constituency will be rehabilitated under the fuel levy at a cost of Sh86 million. Mr Kenyatta also allocated funds for the employment of 200 nurses and 60 teachers per constituency. And in a bid to the ICT sector the Minister pledged to provide Sh6 million worth digital laboratory bus.
More interesting is the Sh30 million worth secondary school of excellence for every constituency which will have every facility making them the model institutions in the country.