Local Government Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga says Ministry of Finance did not release Constituency Development Funds in 2014, 2015, and 2016 because there was no money.
And Malupenga says 152 constituencies received 50 per cent of their CDF in 2017 while 14 constituencies received 100 per cent of the allocated amount.
Malupenga was reacting to numerous complaints from various opposition UPND members of parliament who have questioned government’s criteria when distributing CDF in an interview yesterday.
“All of them apart from 14 constituencies received 50 per cent of the allocation. Then 14 [of them] received 100 per cent. I think that they have a preconceived mind, which they don’t reconcile with reality. The reality is something else but because they have this mind, they can’t even reconcile with reality like I said, all the constituencies in fact if you have to look at our records, you will see that most of the constituencies received. It was very well balanced, all the provinces received and as I speak like I said, all the 166 constituencies have received 50 per cent. In fact you have to subtract 14 from the entire number of constituencies because 14 of those have received 100 per cent, then the rest have received 50 per cent,” Malupenga said.
Malupenga said the only criterion used for disbursing CDF was the availability of funds.
“So the long and short of it is that, that is a misplaced complaint…because when we received the money initially, it was K50 million, we had to give 51 constituencies. And then there was another allocation almost the same. We had to increase the number. When we increased the number we remained with about 14 constituencies which were not catered for in the first allocation and the second allocation,” he said.
“So towards the end of the day when we received some more funds and we were expecting to receive the last bit which was going to complete the entire allocation of CDF, we decided to give those 14 the full amount because they were not catered for in the first one and the second. So we said since we are expecting the last allocation which should be able to complete the full allocation, then we keep it, in the next two three weeks when we receive the full amount then we pay everyone so that everyone is at 100 percent. But unfortunately towards the end of December, Ministry of Finance was not able to release the last bit. So that is how everyone was paid 50 per cent.”
Malupenga said insinuating that only PF led constituencies had received the full amount was wrong because they had also complained about not receiving their allocation.
“In terms of the criteria, the criteria is the availability of money. So we can only give as much as we have received and that’s the only criteria. That is why you saw 2014, 2015, 2016, there was no CDF because finance did not release the money. So when they ask [to say] what is the criteria? That is the only criteria, the criteria is the availability of money. When the money is there, we disburse, when it is not there, there is nothing to disburse,” said Malupenga.
“If you recall, there was a motion that was moved by I think the UPND in parliament last year asking the government to release CDF and they went to argue in parliament. Even those who had received the money were the ones who were moving the motion pretending like nothing has happened. That is why I was saying that these are people who have preconceived ideas or minds which they are not reconciling with the reality. So that is the position, all the constituencies have received. If they are trying to insinuate that those in the opposition are the ones who have received 50 percent and those in the ruling have received 100 percent, I can give you a list and then you start ticking yourself and see. And there a number of them, if you know some people from the PF, ask them, they will tell you those who have received 50 percent or 100 percent, you will find that only like I said 14 constituencies have received 100 percent. Last week I was appearing before the parliamentary committee. The MPs from the PF are the ones who were complaining [that] when are you giving us the other 50 percent. So it’s just that sometimes people politicize even straight forward issues.