NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 21 – Members of the National Assembly disrupted Tuesday’s sitting and threatened to shoot down this year’s budget if the National Treasury fails to release Sh34.5 billion allocated for the National Government Constituency Fund (formerly CDF).
There was acrimony in the House after Majority Leader Aden Duale informed MPs the funds were set aside in the last two financial years, but the money has not been factored into the budget.
Duale tried to convince the MPs to ‘secure’ the allocation which is contained in the Appropriations Bill currently before the House while they wanted for the High Court to rule on a suit filed by civil society groups blocking the National Treasury from disbursing the funds.
“I am not telling you to pass it but you know the budget includes even our salaries but as we sit here, we don’t even have the CDF money in the budget. Why are we in court? What are you defending, because CDF means resources,” Duale said as he was drowned by MPs jeering.
Minority Leader Francis Nyenze then declared that the House would not approve the Sh2.3 trillion budget presented by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich early this month.
“If there is no CDF, there is no budget. We will stop the budget process unless this is secured. We have a leverage point and this is the card that we will play; No CDF, no budget! no CDF no budget!” Nyenze said as he was joined by his colleagues in the chant.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso was forced to suspend the afternoon sitting for two hours to allow the MPs to hold a Speaker’s Kamukunji (informal meeting) where they will deliberate on a way forward after two civil society organisations moved to court to block the National Treasury from disbursing the funds.
The MPs have up to next week on Thursday to approve the budgetary estimates but they remained adamant that they will paralyse government operations if the Executive does not disburse the funds.
Nairobi Country Woman Representative Rachael Shebesh who also sits in the Speakers Panel moved to save the budget after she requested the Deputy Speaker to set the matter aside from the business of the House.
The House was due to debate and vote a motion to approve the issuance of a sum of Sh1.67 trillion from the Consolidated Fund to meet the expenditure in the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament for the Financial Year 2016/2017 the year ending June 30, 2017.
Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Mutava Musymi could barely be heard as he moved the motion for the National Assembly to concur with the Senate and approves the Second Generation Formula for Equitable Sharing of National Revenue Allocated to the Counties.
The proposed formula gives 45 percent consideration to population, while the poverty level factor has been reduced to 18 percent from 20 percent. Land area remains at eight percent, while the equitable share will be 25 percent.
A new index called the Development Factor will account for one percent.