Poor regions lose out as new law gives each constituency Sh101m

Each constituency will get Sh101 million for grassroots development projects in the year starting July as the allocation formula continues to disadvantage marginalised areas.

MPs, in a new law that shares money from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) equally among the 290 electoral zones, removed land area and fiscal responsibility from the allocation formula.

This means that a poor constituency such as Lunga Lunga in Kwale County will receive the same amount as Nairobi’s Starehe. MPs retain influence over CDF as patrons.

In the current financial year, the legislators shared Sh25 billion after the High Court reduced the allocation from Sh35 billion.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Section 6 (1) of the Act, the (CDF) board in its meeting held on May 25 determined the budget ceiling for each constituency for 2017/18 financial year in line with Section 34,” Devolution secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri told the National Assembly’s National Government-CDF (NG-CDF) committee.

Mr Kiunjuri said the proposed budget ceiling per constituency is in compliance with the NG-CDF Act 2015 which shares money for the development of constituencies equally.

The High Court ruling followed an application by the Institute of Social Accountability and the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance which argued that the Sh35 billion allocation was unconstitutional.

The court reduced the allocation to comply with the law that requires the money to be pegged at 2.5 per cent of the total annual revenue collected by the national government.

The MPs controlled kitty was thus renamed the NG-CDF following a court challenge on the constitutionality of CDF.

The legislators amended the law early this year to beat a High Court ruling which declared the CDF Act unconstitutional and gave Parliament a one year grace period to align the Act with the Constitution or the fund would cease to exist.

The changes to the Act saw the NG-CDF cease to fund projects such as water, health centres and roads which have since been taken over by county governments.

MPs use the fund to finance national projects such as education and security.

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