Politics and policy

House team faults PS inclusion in Uwezo Fund board

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By EDWIN MUTAI

Posted  Tuesday, October 29  2013 at  17:17

In Summary

  • The committee on Delegated Legislation which is scrutinising the Public Finance Management (Uwezo Fund) Regulations 2013 faulted the inclusion of the Principal Secretary (PS) Interior to the fund's management board.

A House committee wants Executive representation in the management of the Sh6 billion Uwezo Fund trimmed to reduce the bureaucratic stranglehold in the administration of the fund.

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The committee on Delegated Legislation which is scrutinising the Public Finance Management (Uwezo Fund) Regulations 2013 faulted the inclusion of the Principal Secretary (PS) Interior to the fund's management board.

The committee chaired by William Cheptumo said there was too much representation of the Office of the President in the fund.

“I don’t see why the PS Interior should sit in the enterprise. I don’t see a security issue on issues enterprises. Let us remove the PS and put more youth and women in the board given that the fund is for them,” said Kabando wa Kabando (MP Mukurweini).

The MPs also proposed the removal of Devolution and Planning Cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s discretionary powers to appoint persons to the board without the involvement of Parliament.

According to the regulations, the Uwezo Oversight Board consists of a chairperson nominated by the Devolution minister, principal secretaries responsible for youth and women, finance and interior, two persons appointed by the Cabinet secretary, a person with disabilities and a representative of religious institutions.

“We must remove representation of religious institutions in national institutions…this will set a bad precedence and questions will arise as to which religion should nominate the person,” Mr Cheptumo said.

President Kenyatta launched the fund on September 8 whose main purpose is to expand access to credit to promote youth and women business and enterprises at the constituency level thereby enhancing economic growth towards the realisation of the goals of Vision 2030.

The fund is aimed at generating gainful self-employment for the youth and women. It models an alternative framework in funding community driven development.

The Uwezo Fund, according to the regulations that the ministry presented to Parliament last week, will employ the principals of table banking and revolving funds to create a unique blend of financing for youth groups.
It will be disbursed at the constituency level modelled along the Constituency Development Fund framework.

“This will enable women and youth to access the fund at the local level thereby reducing the transaction costs that they would have otherwise incurred,” the explanatory memorandum accompanying the regulations prepared by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning states.

From a total of Sh6 billion, a one-off administration charge of three per cent (Sh180 million) will be deducted while Sh500 million will be earmarked for capacity building of groups. This will ensure that the recipients are capacitated on the skills, knowledge and market linkages necessary to run respective group enterprises.

The balance of the funds will be divided between all 290 constituencies with 75 per cent shared equally and 25 per cent being shared on the basis of poverty index for equalisation purposes.

“Of the total amount received per constituency, 20 per cent will be earmarked for religious institutions as a grant to administer to women and youth groups within their jurisdictions. The balance per constituency thereafter will be administered as a 75 per cent loan, and 25 per cent grant for each beneficiary group,” the memorandum forwarding the regulations says.

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