Timely CDF projects execution key

DEVELOPMENT projects play a crucial role in Zambia’s progress and well-being.
Projects such as roads, bridges, and energy facilities stimulate economic growth. Improved infrastructure attracts investments and creates jobs.
Efficiently implemented projects provide better access to essential services like healthcare, education, and clean water. These directly impact poverty reduction and improve livelihoods.
It is unfortunate therefore that since the scope of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was expanded and its subsequent increased budgetary allocation in 2022, implementation of CDF projects in some constituencies has been sluggish.
In its inaugural national budget for 2022, President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration raised CDF allocation from K1.6 million to K25.7 million per constituency.
But despite the timely disbursement of the growth funds to constituencies since then, project execution in some parts of the country has not been to the desired standard because of ineptitude in some councils.
Some principal officers in councils have continually been giving excuses like rigidities in processes as the causes of slow execution of CDF projects.
However, some town clerks and council secretaries have effectively been implementing CDF projects under the same conditions with those that do not execute projects in a timely manner.
Fortunately, this laissez-faire kind of attitude is now being addressed by the Local Government Service Commission, which has now introduced bi-annual assessments of principal officers in councils countrywide.
The bi-annual assessment exercise started yesterday with Chongwe Town Council and it will be extended to all the 115 districts in Zambia.
According to commission chairperson Ackson Sejeni, it will no longer be business as usual because the bi-annual assessments have been introduced after noting with displeasure continuous lethargic implementation of CDF projects.
This is despite the Treasury having been releasing the funds on time but the money remains unused in bank accounts.
It is for this reason that we welcome the bi-annual assessments initiative because it will help speed up implementation of community projects undertaken in all constituencies.
Implementation of CDF projects must be checked regularly because implementers may become complacent if they are not being followed up.
Timely construction of public facilities like health centres and schools ensures delivery of quality services. Healthy citizens and educated youth contribute to a prosperous society.
Development projects which are completed in good time foster community pride, unity, and social cohesion. People feel invested in their surroundings and work together for common goals.
Well-timed project implementation directly impacts economic prosperity, poverty alleviation, social well-being, and environmental sustainability. It is a critical driver for the nation’s development.
We urge town clerks and council secretaries across the country to up their game and see to it that CDF projects are executed within the stipulated time frames.
These principal officers must take the expanded CDF programme very seriously because it holds immense significance for the country’s development.
This substantial boost to CDF allocations enables more ambitious projects and addresses the fiscal gaps that previously hindered local development efforts.
Beyond infrastructure, the revamped CDF now encompasses additional components such as youth and women empowerment programmes which foster economic opportunities and gender inclusivity.
There is also the component of secondary school bursaries, which are the locally administered support for education. This broader scope ensures a holistic approach to community upliftment.
With increased funding, CDF projects can now swiftly address pressing needs in communities.
Communities benefit from improved roads, schools, healthcare facilities, and other essential infrastructure.
As such, it is important for principal officers in councils to ensure that once the money is disbursed from the Treasury, it is promptly utilised on implementing projects meant to improve living standards in constituencies.
All in all, the expanded CDF represents a transformative opportunity to uplift communities, promote economic prosperity, and foster participatory local development in Zambia.