In a heated session before the Finance Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u disclosed the challenges facing the government in releasing funds earmarked for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).
The Treasury Secretary acknowledged the delayed disbursement, attributing it to the government's financial constraints.
Ndung'u asserted the government's commitment to resolving the situation, stating, "NG-CDF will be released as soon as the government has enough funds."
He highlighted the current fiscal strain, emphasizing that revenue collection has fallen short of meeting financial obligations, including salary payments. Despite these hurdles, he reassured legislators, stating, "We are working around the clock to make things work."
The Treasury Secretary elucidated the multifaceted challenges confronting the Kenya Kwanza administration, citing the global economic downturn and resultant inflation as significant factors.
He underscored the adverse impact on the nation's debt, disclosing an increase of Sh145 billion, equivalent to 0.9 per cent of the GDP.
The government's proactive measures, he argued, had managed to curtail the deficit increase from 4.4 per cent to 4.7 per cent, necessitating the quest for an additional Sh90 billion.
To address this financial gap, CS Ndung'u proposed options for consideration.
He suggested either reducing government expenditure by an equal amount or exploring external resources, indicating ongoing efforts by the President to seek support from international allies.
The parliamentary discord over the NG-CDF funds surfaced on Tuesday, prompting a staged walkout by Members of Parliament. Expressing frustration, MPs chanted slogans such as 'solidarity forever' and 'No CDF, No Parliament!'
The protest, fueled by the six-month delay in fund disbursement, led to the premature conclusion of a Plenary session.
Nyando MP Jared Okello articulated the MPs' demands, stating, "We have suspended all sittings and government businesses until CDF is expended to our schools."
He emphasized the urgency of releasing funds, especially with new students joining Form One in January.
This latest standoff echoes a similar incident in February, where MPs threatened to obstruct the passage of the supplementary budget unless NG-CDF funds were promptly released.
The tension persists as the government grapples with economic challenges and strives to balance competing financial priorities.