Kitwe’s independent Nkana Member of Parliament Binwell Chansa Mpundu has said the utilisation of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is in a mess owing to the inertia among councils in the country.
Mr. Mpundu said some people in local authorities are frustrating CDF projects proposed by various constituencies.
He said so far in Nkana Constituency no CDF project has taken off this year despite the Central Government disbursing three quarters of the K25.7 Million allocation.
“CDF is in a mess. We have been sitting on money from April when the first disbursement was released. If you count from April to today, how many months have passed? Even if procurement processes take long. Procurement can’t take eight months. Even if Secretary to Treasury has to approve, even if the Attorney General has to approve projects cannot take eight months. This is when they have started CDF procurement processes, tender process. I can guarantee you that projects won’t start in Nkana Constituency until January because the procurement processes are just starting. So, if anybody would stand and challenge me that CDF is not a mess can you justify why we must be sitting on money. The only money we have spent out of K25.9 Million is the money for sponsoring for skills development and those that we have taken to boarding schools. This is the situation in all constituencies in Kitwe. There is no single project that has been handled in the entire five constituencies in Kitwe. We have done our part. We submitted people’s proposal,” Mr. Mpundu said.
He said teething problems negatively affecting CDF projects in constituencies should be quickly sorted out.
“We can’t even blame the Minister of Local Government (Garry Nkombo) he has given us a go ahead. The problem is with the actual implementer who are the councils. That is where the inertia is. If it was within my powers I can overhaul the entire systems because they are the ones dragging things. If I were the Minister of Local Government, I would go to every local government and pick out the moles because within this system some people want to be bribed. If they realise that the project won’t selfishly benefit them they end up frustrating it. Government has made an undertaking that because of these procedures but the teething problems must be quickly addressed. It should not take more than one year just to address teething problems. The problem is not with guidelines but inertia to move in councils. Say a contractor is picked today to construct a clinic, the council has to write to get authority from Treasury. The council has to write to get authority from the Attorney General. The Secretary to the Treasury has noted that the job is big so they have delegated authority to provinces to give authority but the Attorney General want to have the authority to sign for the over 150 constituencies with over ten projects in each constituency. Why can’t the Attorney General’s office delegate authority to provinces so that we reduce on the time it is taking,” he said.
Mr. Mpundu said it was unfortunate that the disbursed CDF is being under utilised.
“President Hakainde has fulfilled his promise to give us money (CDF). As we speak, we are sitting on 75% disbursement. Remember the government said it will be disbursing money per quarter. So, we are sitting on money as we speak. That is why I am saying to actually implement CDF projects it is not the Member of Parliament, it is not the CDF committee, and it is the council. If this conversation reaches the Minister of Local Government he should investigate problems surrounding CDF. That is why I have stated before we cannot even subject the President to having a meeting to speak to Councils, Mayors or Town Clerks on why CDF projects are advancing. We are punishing the President. He has done his job. We will also wrong to accuse the Minister of Finance for failure on CDF. We know where the failure is,” he said.