MPs threaten to dismiss CS Njunguna for billions of CDF

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MPs threaten to dismiss CS Njunguna for billions of CDF


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Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, addresses the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Budget at County Hall, Nairobi County on May 17, 2023. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

MPs have threatened to impeach Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u over delay in the disbursement of billions from the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

MPs from both the ruling Kenya Kwanza alliance and the opposition Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition said learners from poor families who rely on scholarships to pay their tuition fees risk being turned away at school.

Lawmakers said Treasury was yet to disburse even a single cent for the CDF, despite President William Ruto’s promise to have the funds available before schools reopen. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Wetang’ula, also assured MPs that the fund would be released by the end of December.

Read: How cash from the Sh200 billion mini-budget will be shared

Addressing a press conference at Parliament yesterday, more than 20 MPs issued a seven-day ultimatum to Professor Ndung’u, or else they launch a motion of no confidence against him. They also threatened to engineer the sacking of NG-CDF CEO Yusuf Mbuno over the impasse.

“Not a cent has been disbursed in this regard, resulting in pupils and students being stranded across the country. We should have received at least 75 percent of the money by now which is about Sh43 billion but to date we have received nothing despite some statements you may have heard elsewhere,” said the MP for Rarieda, Otiende Amollo (ODM). a joint press release.

Other MPs present at the press briefing included John Makali (Kanduyi), Steven Mogaka (West Mugirango), Jack Wamboka (Bumula), Martin Wanyonyi (Webuye East), Mark Mwenje (Embakasi West), James Nyikal (Seme), Joshua Oron (Kisumu Central) and Walter Owino (Awendo) and Majimbo Kalasinga from Kabuchai.

The deputies requested a note from the Treasury to the director of accounts of the CDF informing him that the fund cannot be released until they have recalled and redone the proposals they had submitted due to an amendment to the CDF law.

They questioned why the changes were introduced in the third quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, when they only affected less than six percent of NG-CDF funds.

“These amendments should have been considered during the 2024/25 financial year. As a bipartisan team with members from both sides, we demand that the entire CDF allocation be released within seven days, as it should be. If this is not done, we will convene a special session of the House and draft an appropriate motion against the Treasury CS and the NG-CDF board,” the Rarieda MP said.

Read: Treasury allocates Sh1 billion to primary schools for construction of classrooms

Also present were TJ Kajwang (Ruaraka), Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South), Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga) and Millie Odhiambo (Suba North).

MP Kalasinga (Ford Kenya) claimed that the Treasury had reallocated the money meant for the CDF to other ministries, but parents and learners were thronging the CDF offices for scholarships.

“Schools do not have classrooms and rely on these funds to build new ones. The children have also returned to school and hope to benefit from the scholarships which unfortunately have not been released since the start of this financial year until now,” said Mr Kalasinga.

The fund is disbursed quarterly, implying that districts should now have received 75 percent of the funds.

Some MPs said they had handed out scholarship forms but had no money to give to students in need.

Lawmakers staged a walkout from the House last month to protest the delay in the release of over Sh53.3 billion in NG-CDF cash.

The law provides that 2.5 percent of the total revenue collected nationally will be distributed among the 290 constituencies.

Read: 100 constituencies will lose 771 million shillings in the new CDF formula

According to the new Constituency Development Act, the money allocated for scholarships has been increased from 35 percent to 40 percent. This means that out of the Sh53.3 billion, about Sh21.2 billion would be spent on scholarships.

Last month, President William Ruto and the National Treasury assured MPs that the funds would be disbursed before schools reopened.

“I want to assure members that there are resources for our children to go to school. This is not negotiable. We will stop other items,” President Ruto said.

He criticized National Treasury for lying to Parliament by claiming the fund would hit constituency accounts by December.

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