Kitwe’s Nkana Member of Parliament Binwell Mpundu says he wanted the increased Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to be released at once to meet the many needs of constituencies.
In the 2022 National Budget, the Government has increased the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from K1.6 million to K25.7 million per constituency.
Mr. Mpundu, an Independent Member of Parliament, said the revised guidelines stipulating that CDF will be released in piecemeal were not progressive.
“I am one of the people that jumped in parliament when the announcement of the increased allocation of CDF was announced because to me this meant decentralizing decision making in so far as development is concerned because now we can drive our own developmental agenda with these funds at our disposal. Note that from the budget announcement some of us have gone flat out to engage the communities announcing to them the good news and as we speak the communities are very expectant because we have told them of how much we will be able to move when these funds are made available,” Mr. Mpundu posted on his official Facebook page.
CDF is usually a need-based allocation released according to the needs of each constituency.
“Nowhere is where the problem comes in. First of all the technocrats came up with weird guidelines for the implementation of the CDF such that on the day of the announcement of these guidelines we were almost strangling them for being unreasonable in their proposed guidelines which eventually leaked to the public. The speaker saw the tension and immediately constituted a team of MP’s for which I was privileged to be part to remain at parliament after the adjournment of parliament to scrutinize these guidelines and come up with counter-proposals,” Mr. Mpundu said.
“We spent two weeks deliberating over this matter in a bid to ensure that the technocrats come up with guidelines that will be in the best interest of the people. Note that when it comes to issues of CDF the MP speaks one language and perhaps this is the only time the MP speaks one language and on this one they have spoken one language regardless of which political party one comes from. The confusion that has emerged is the insistence by the technocrats to stagger the disbursement of funds and according to them, they will release money God knows how much in bits and pieces and then you will be expected to utilize that money and do acquittals before the next disbursement is made to you,” Mr. Mpundu said.
“Now here is where the problem lies. I have 8 wards in my constituency, and each of those wards have unique challenges that needs urgent attention and so if am given say K4 million and I initiate projects in two wards while the other wards are put on hold, what if the execution of those projects takes long and we are already in February in the next 3 days, look at the frustrations that the other wards will be subjected to by the wait while they see activities happening in another ward.”
The Ministry of Finance and National Planning has already released K198 million which is part of the 20% allocated towards the Secondary Boarding Schools and Skills Development Bursary Scheme from the 2022 Constituency Development Fund.
Mr. Mpundu added:”Already some funds have been released so we are told which funds we expect to hit our accounts soon, which funds are for educational support and according to the pronouncements these funds must benefit those going to boarding schools and those wanting to pursue skills development courses. But when you read the guidelines that were sent to us through the council secretaries, they are not clear on the part of skills development courses and so we are waiting.”
“Note that 20% of the CDF will go for educational support which translates to K5 million but I am told that what has been released is only a part of this amount only meant to cater for term one. Let me put it on record that I have every belief and I personally can see the desire of President HH in so far as ensuring resources move to the lower end is concerned but I see some officials destroying that good will by these unpopular decisions they are making regarding this CDF issue,” Mr. Mpundu said.
“Anyways I have put my thought because I am heavily affected by the insistence to have a piecemeal approach to the disbursement of the CDF. I have a cosmopolitan constituency with so many challenges and I will need all the monies given to us so that we can start addressing challenges in all our wards at once and so that we can beat the timeline of one year in which these funds must be utilized. I have stated my advice. Those with ears must pay attention,” he concluded.