The Treasury has released the balance of Sh10.1 billion to the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) Board to enable MPs complete projects ahead of the March 4 General Election.
Finance minister Njeru Githae informed MPs that the money would be disbursed to the 210 constituencies from Thursday.
“I have this morning sent Sh10.1 billion to the CDF Management Board to enable MPs to complete all the projects they had started so that incoming MPs start on a clean slate,” said Mr Githae while issuing a ministerial statement.
He had on December 19 told Parliament that he would borrow from the domestic market to meet outstanding CDF budgetary allocations for this year.
Last week, Mr Githae told the House that the Cabinet had granted him approval to seek the funds locally to enable outgoing MPs conclude pending projects. He also said Sh2 billion had been allocated to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to fight counterfeit excise duty stamps and eradicate revenue leakages.
Mr Githae’s decision to borrow follows a budgetary shortfall of Sh43 billion which the Treasury targeted to collect in the first quarter of the year.
“The CDF board should disburse funds immediately because they had approved all the applications made by Constituencies Development Committees (CDC). There is no excuse not to disburse the money latest today.”
The release of the money follows sustained pressure from MPs on the Treasury to release the balance of the Sh21.7 billion, being 0.5 per cent of the total revenue set aside for CDF. The rush to complete the projects is informed by past experiences where new MPs abandoned programmes started by people they beat in elections, leading to wastage.
Parliament constitutionally stands dissolved on January 15.
Mr Githae said district accountants on leave had been recalled and none will proceed on leave until after the general election to ensure the money is not diverted to political campaigns.
“It has been deemed necessary to recall all district accountants who are on annual leave. Those in office are directed not to take their annual leave until after the new leadership takes office at the respective constituencies,” the circular stated.
District development officers would facilitate quick release of the funds.
Mosop MP David Koech asked the minister to ensure the money is used up to March 4 and not January 14 as indicated by Planning minister.
Mr Githae said Kenya should adopt the model of US where MPs remain in office after dissolution of the House until a new one is sworn in.
Temporary Deputy Speaker Gitobu Imanyara proposed an amendment to allow MPs to hold office the same way ministers do until the next Cabinet is constituted.