MEMBERS of Parliament have disappointed their constituents after National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda yesterday announced that out of 129 applications submitted for $50 000 Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations only two met the requirements.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Mudenda further told the House that of the 210 constituencies that are eligible for CDF allotments, 74 MPs failed to submit their applications for the money to develop their constituencies.
“To date, only 129 constituencies have submitted initial documents for CDF and their bank accounts, and out of that figure only two have fully complied with the CDF constitution and accounting officers’ manual and have submitted estimated costs and identified a project management committee,” he said.
“Five submissions did not comply with the provisions of the CDF constitution and 74 have not made any submissions at all, and MPs are urged to attend to this matter urgently to your advantage in promoting development of your constituencies.”
Last year, before Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa made the 2018 National Budget statement, MPs demonstrated in Parliament demanding, among other things, the release of the $50 000 CDF.
It was not clear why MPs were failing to submit their CDF applications. However, one of the reasons could be the stringent conditions that must be met to qualify for the fund to curb misuse.
Under the CDF, committees must be set up, projects identified with stakeholder consultation, three quotations for each project, whose cost will be checked against the proposal by Parliament’s staff management committee, must be submitted and signatures of the CDF committee showing approval of the project.
Mudenda announced that money will be disbursed upon approval of each project, a complete departure from the previous case, where $50 000 was just poured into MPs’ bank accounts and ended up being abused.
Four former MPs were arrested in 2011 for abuse of CDF allocations, while the majority of MPs failed to embark on meaningful projects.