FORMER finance minister N’gandu Magande says he is happy that national planning now falls under the Ministry of Finance because it will be essential in rolling out the increased CDF.

In an interview, Thursday, Magande said the government’s division of planning should help constituencies set priority projects before receiving funds because only then can they make good use of the money.

“It is good that the Ministry of Finance was combined with the Ministry of Planning. So the division for planning in government must take that responsibility so that the people who are receiving the money will sit down, agree what are the priorities for their area and then they ask for disbursement of this money. What was pleasing, I think Secretary to the Treasury said that this money will be an imprest. If in a quarter we release 10 million, before we release another 10 million the following quarter, the following month or the following year, the receiver must account for how they used the previous 10 million. And without that then they will not receive any more,” Magande said.

“So I think while they will be waiting for such reports, they will discover that quite a lot of institutions might have their monies tied up in the bank because they can’t plan properly the project to apply to development. So I think that will mean then [that] the finance people or the planning people [should] know how to help those councils or constituencies which will be found wanting in terms of lack of planning, the lack of use of that money.”

He urged government to set up systems which would guard against wastage of public resources, noting that some people had not handled so much money before.

“Well, it is good that perhaps other people are realising [that] money is going now and [it] is going right down up to even wards and constituencies. But one of the responsibilities is to use money responsibly so that it achieves the intended objective. So I think since quite a lot of people have never handled that kind of money, it will be necessary for those who might be in the receiving organisations to set some kind of committees or units. Let’s say at the constituency level which is going to be responsible for disbursing that money once it comes there. So I think that is one of the important aspects which I hope the government will help to set up because just a small district out there receiving over 10 million is a lot of money and if it is not properly accounted for then it will end up being used in programmes which are not long term,” said Magande.