- Under the new law, NGCDF will also cater for other social benefits such as school feeding programmes.
- Some schools had almost all students applying for the bursary fund which was usually not enough following overwhelming response from applicants.
Parents from needy backgrounds have a reason to smile after President William Ruto signed into law a Bill increasing bursary allocation from the National Government Constituencies Development Fund.
The new law increased educational bursary funds in the NGCDF Act, 2015 from 35 per cent to 40 per cent to facilitate learning.
“The additional allocation to educational bursaries will play a key role in ensuring continuity and completion of education by students,” a despatch from Parliament said.
Under the new law, NGCDF will also cater for other social benefits such as school feeding programmes, particularly in drought-stricken areas where students drop out of school in search of food and water.
Before the law was amended, allocations to bursary schemes under the fund could not amount to more than 35 per cent of total constituency NGCDF allocation in a financial year.
The additional funding will supplement the government’s efforts to reduce illiteracy by increasing access to education and improving transition rates from primary to secondary schools.
There have been calls to increase the limit amount to support teaching and learning activities.
Some schools had almost all students applying for the bursary fund which was usually not enough following overwhelming response from applicants.
During public participation, it was clear from the reactions of people that the allocation could not meet their needs.
The National Government Constituencies Development Fund (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 13 of 2023) was published on April 24, 2023.
The Bill seeks to alleviate societal needs and is the first Bill to be co-sponsored by the Leader of the Majority Party Kimani Ichung’wah and the Leader of the Minority Party James Opiyo Wandayi.
The Bill was first read on June 7, 2023, and was considered and passed by the National Assembly on November 28, 2023.
The principal object of the Bill was to align the National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2015 to the Constitution.
It sought to ensure that the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NGCDF) is used to fund projects falling under the exclusive functions of the National Government as set out in the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution.
The new law also introduces a three per cent allocation of the NGCDF to be used in paying for utilities, costs, and maintenance of constituency digital hubs which are seen as key in enabling the youth to acquire technological skills.
“The creation of employment among the youth is a critical national agenda and requires taking advantage of advances in technology,” the statement from Parliament added.
Additionally, the new law allocates a maximum of five per cent of the funds allocated per constituency to climate change mitigation activities including afforestation, reafforestation, grassroot sensitisation, and tree seedling production.
Setting aside NGCDF funds for climate action is envisioned to play a critical role in preventing further extreme and devastating weather conditions.