Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta says government should double this year’s Constituency Development Funds because developmental works have stalled as a result of lack of funding in the past years.
And Nkeyema UPND member of parliament Kapelwa Mbangweta says MPs cannot succeed with their development ideas if government doesn’t provide CDF in full.
Local Government Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga said recently that the Ministry of Finance did not release Constituency Development Funds in 2014, 2015, and 2016 because there was no money.
He said 152 constituencies had received 50 percent of their CDF in 2017 while 14 constituencies had received 100 per cent of the allocated amount.
But in an interview with News Diggers! on Wednesday, Katuta said it would be wise if government doubled this year’s CDF because lack of funds was affecting developmental works.
“The development of constituencies have [already] been affected. Before I became a member of parliament I discovered that the constituencies had not received any CDF funding. For instance, in my constituency what we have embarked on, we need the total amount [of CDF] to finish up. If we don’t receive even the 50 percent which remained it means we are not moving forward at all,” said Katuta.
“For the constituencies within town, it’s easier for them to receive some development through the central government whereas for the rural areas it’s very difficult. If we receive a little bit of money in terms of CDF we can do a lot. So there would be a huge negative impact on constituencies in terms of development. It will only be wise if government can double this year’s CDF or give out the 100 percent plus 50 percent.”
And Mbangweta observed that when MPs were not given their CDF, developmental works don’t take off.
“CDF is a fund which the local people appreciate a lot. It is also a good tool to reflect commitment to decentralization. The reason is that most of the projects for which CDF is used are projects which are driven from the bottom, the local community. They (local community) will say we require a classroom here, a clinic and so on. And within a constituency, you can sit and and say ‘in our constituency which is the most needy area and what do we need to do?’ If you don’t give that money it means that all those locally identified developmental needs are not attended to. If the community had said ‘they needed a clinic and teachers houses’, they will all not take place because the central government is not in a position to know about those needs,” said Mbangweta.
“I only received half [of the CDF]. If he (Malupenga) has said they are 14 [constituencies which had received 100 percent of the CDF], what we need to do is to go back and check with him which these 14 constituencies are. [If they are PF]. we can only encourage them not to discriminate because CDF is in the Constitution so it cannot be given on a discriminatory basis.”