Editor's Comment

Use CDF prudently

THE decision by Government to release the K249.6 million Constituency Development Fund (CDF) budget allocation for 2020 as a lump sum is a commendable deed that requires reciprocal prudent use.
Let’s not have excuses. The constituents expect spurred development on projects that make sense and are generally for the good of all.
In the past, the release of CDF was slow and erratic. In some instances it was released in batches due to inadequate funds.
Consequently, this has hampered development in many constituencies across the country.
In many instances development has been sporadic because of the erratic funding.
Over the recent years things have been improving with Government increasing the amount of funds released towards the CDF budget allocation.
It is however elating that this year, Government has released the total CDF budget allocation for the year 2020.
Minister of Local Government Charles Banda said at a press briefing yesterday that the disbursement of the money is in line with Government’s pledge to ensure inclusive development.
“The CDF budgetary allocation for 2020 is K249,600,000 and I wish to announce that Government, as promised, has released the total allocation of CDF as budgeted,” Dr Banda said.
The K249.6 million will be distributed to all the 156 constituencies and each will receive K1.6 million.
This will no doubt go a long way in improving the welfare of people in constituencies.
Constituencies depend on this fund to implement development projects in various sectors such as health, education and agriculture.
It is through this fund that schools are built and furnished.
Through CDF people in constituencies are availed with health facilities, clean water and sanitary services. Through the same fund constituencies have been able to build low-budget roads and bridges.
In other instances the fund has been used to empower the vulnerable through provision of capital for entrepreneurship projects.
In other words CDF is the life blood for economic activities in the constituencies and particularly those in rural areas.
It is expected that through increased projects and economic activities, jobs will be created for the benefit of the locals.
It is also anticipated that as the constituencies develop in terms of infrastructure, they will become more attractive to investors.
Now that Government has done its part by releasing the funds it is up to those charged with implementation of projects to hit the ground running.
As the minister rightly said Members of Parliament have an onerous task to ensure that the implementation of earmarked CDF projects start soon.
There is no need to wait. It is surprising that up to now some councils’ have not yet submitted their budgets. Whether funds are delayed or are not assured, the councils were expected have plans in place.
As advised, councils should not waste any more time. They must immediately submit their budgets for consideration because there are many projects out there waiting for that money.
“There is no reason to retain the funds in the constituency bank accounts when there are many development challenges that need to be urgently addressed,” Dr Banda said.
It would be an injustice to the many vulnerable people in the various constituencies yearning for development if the CDF is to be left unused because those charged with the responsibility to claim the funds failed to do their part.
Funds have been availed regardless of which party controls the respective councils or constituency. MPs must prove their worth.
It is good that the ministry has committed to ensure that allocated CDF is used for the intended purpose in a transparent and accountable manner in accordance with CDF Act number 11 0f 2018.
Indeed, every availed coin must be used for the intended purpose.
Although the money may not be enough for major projects, if well utilised, there can be notable positive differences in the constituencies.
Those charged with monitoring the usage of funds should, therefore, track every ngwee to ensure that the fruits of these resources are seen.
Let’s see development.

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