REMARKS BY HON WYCLIFFE AMBETSA OPARANYA,EGH, M.P MINISTER OF STATE FOR PLANNING,NATIONAL SECURITY AND VISION 2030 DURING THE OFFICIAL HANDOVER OF THE REPORT BY THE CDF REVIEW TASKFORCE ON 26TH JULY, 2012.
The Permanent Secretary;
The Chair, CDF Board;
Members of the CDF Review Taskforce;
Members of the board of directors of the CDF;
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by welcoming you all to this meeting, whose objective is to receive the report of the Taskforce that I appointed on 22nd June 2009 with an objective of charting the way forward for the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF).
As you are already aware, the Constituencies Development Fund was founded nine years ago with the objective of empowering the people of Kenya to address the local needs while at the same time providing a legal avenue through which all resources trickle down to all parts of the country. The introduction of the fund marked an important paradigm shift in the identification, planning, financing implementation and monitoring of development projects in Kenya.
The fund has to date registered substantial achievements and made great contributions in transforming the lives of our people. The impact of the fund is so widespread in all corners of the country that one cannot miss a project financed from the CDF kitty in any part of this country.
However, just like any novel idea, the fund has had its own share of challenges ranging from the mode of financing, project identification, implementation and management. Some of these challenges have necessitated periodic review of its organization and legal framework, the first one being the 2007 amendments to the CDF act.
Despite the notable improvement in the management of the Fund attributable to the structural changes introduced by the CDF (Amendment) Act 2007, emerging issues including weak management of political transition as observed in some constituencies after the last general election prompted me to establish a CDF Review Taskforce in June 2009 and mandated it to look into the operations of the Fund and make recommendations on how best to address various inherent challenges. The committee did its work and compiled its report in June 2010 after holding consultative meetings with several stakeholders.
However, as you may recall, the new constitution was promulgated in August 2010 bringing fundamental changes in the management of public affairs. This necessitated a further review of the Taskforce report to determine if the recommendations therein were consistent with the new constitution.
It is in this light that I constituted a panel of six members, three from the taskforce and three from the CDF Board, to carry out further review and determine whether the CDF Act was at variance with the new constitution to the extent that it must be repealed; if the new constitution is neutral to the CDF such that it can continue as it is; or if the Fund can continue but only after some amendments. This panel compiled its report in January 2011 and its work together with that of the Taskforce greatly contributed to efforts made to date towards realigning the CDF to the new dispensation.
Ladies and gentlemen; You are also aware that the realisation of the new constitution necessitated the enactment of new laws or amendment of some of the legislations to meet the requirements of the new supreme law. The implication of this is that the CDF Act has to be compatible to the new laws that are meant to make the constitution operational. It was in recognition of this that I tasked the CDF board to embark on the process of translating the good work of the taskforce and the panel into a draft bill to be presented in cabinet soon.
I am aware that the board has made great progress which has already been documented.
I take cognisance of the fact that despite its popularity and achievements, the fund has also faced several challenges, ranging from weak capacity of the constituency Development Fund Committees and Project Management Committees, political interference in the identification, approval and implementation of the projects, inadequacies in accounting for the Funds, poor governance, low level of awareness among communities on the operations of the fund, implementation and sustainability of the projects. The management structure of the fund is also affected by weak separation of powers between the executive and the legislature. The efforts that led to the production of these reports are therefore an important contribution towards ensuring that these shortcomings are addressed.
I note that the Taskforce has encountered these issues in the course of its work, and has collated views from various stakeholders on how best to address the concerns. The recommendations contained in the Taskforce report and the report of the Taskforce Panel therefore provide an important input to the process of developing strategies on how to tackle the challenges facing CDF.
I wish to thank the members of the taskforce for their dedication and commitment that led to the production of these informative reports. These reports are key to charting the way forward for CDF in the new constitutional dispensation, in order to ensure that the Fund continues to serve its purpose even better.
With those remarks, it is my pleasure now to formally receive the CDF Review Taskforce Report.