MPs make Uwezo Fund permanent

November 20, 2013 1:29 pm
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The fund would be replenished every year just as the National Women Empowerment and National Youth Enterprise Funds/FILE
The fund would be replenished every year just as the National Women Empowerment and National Youth Enterprise Funds/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 20 – The National Assembly has approved a House Committee’s amendments to the Uwezo Fund regulations which will see the Sh6 billion fund turned into a revolving one.

The fund would be replenished every year just as the National Women Empowerment and National Youth Enterprise Funds.

The money had originally been budgeted for a presidential run-off but President Kenyatta was declared winner in the first round of the March 4 General Election.

He had promised to use the money to empower the youth and women through affordable enterprise loans.

The regulations which were debated until 11pm on Tuesday night and approved during the Wednesday morning’s sitting also agreed to do away with a section that included a member of religious institutions into the board.

Committee on Delegated Legislation chairman William Cheptumo moved for the deletion of a regulation that had President Uhuru Kenyatta as the national champion and patron of the fund.

MPs argue that the President’s role should be purely ceremonial and that policy direction be owned by the fund’s board.

The President will instead receive an annual report on the performance of the Fund and review the implementation progress.

“This will shield the President from direct involvement in policy formulation, performance and implementation and also from any consequences of performance and implementation,” said the committee chairman.

Speaker Justin Muturi struck out amendments by Kipkelion MP Joseph Limo seeking to have the Treasury allocate one percent of annual revenues to the fund and another one by Nairobi County Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh to expand the membership of the Uwezo Fund Management Committee by two more members.

In his communication, Muturi said he will not entertain amendments with financial implications on the Executive.
Cheptumo also wanted MPs to manage the fund from July 2014.

The regulations states that three percent of the money would be spent on administration costs and Sh500 million in capacity- building.

Seventy percent of the balance would be shared equally among the 290 constituencies while 25 percent would be shared based on the poverty index.

In each constituency a fifth of the allocation would be reserved for religious groups, 75 percent for registered groups and five percent for individuals.

The groups should have between five and 15 members, and have been in existence for at least six months to get preference.

The fund would be modelled on table banking and be overseen by a board, supported by a secretariat.

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