Saturday, November 29, 2008

(DAILY MAIL) 39 constituencies miss CDF

39 constituencies miss CDF

MINISTER of Local Government and Housing Benny Tetamashimba yesterday told Parliament that 39 out of 150 constituencies will not benefit from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) this year because of their failure to submit their expenditure returns.

Mr Tetamashimba said in a ministerial statement that the 39 constituencies which were not funded had not submitted their expenditure returns for the utilisation of CDF for 2007 at the time they were directed to do so.

Government released K44.4 billion to 111 constituencies out of 150.

He said the 39 constituencies would require K15.6 billion after submitting the returns.

Mr Tetamashimba said it was a requirement for councils to prepare progress reports on the disbursement of CDF.

He said government was saddened by the failure by council managements to submit expenditure reports.

Mr Tetamashimba said this had put pressure on members of Parliament who wanted to see development projects in their constituencies implemented.

He however said the MPs should not be blamed for the failure of the councils to submit their expenditure returns on time.

Mr Tetamashimba said he was happy that the management of the CDF had improved as opposed to the previous years when there was misuse and misapplication of the funds.

He urged the MPs to use the 2008 CDF on tangible projects that would benefit the people.

Mr Tetamashimba apologised to the MPs for the delay in the disbursement of the funds and that this was due to the Presidential elections which consumed most of the money.

He directed councils to ensure that CDF meetings were not held without informing MPs and that the MPs should come up with dates on which to hold the meetings.

The minister said respective councils should retain only K20 million for administrative purposes.

He appealed to the MPs to ensure that constituencies submitted returns on time to avoid a situation where some councils would not get the CDF.

Namwala MP Robby Chizhyuka (UPND) wanted to know measures government was taking to increase funds given to large constituencies that also held districts status.

Mr Tetamashimba said although he appreciated the challenges that such constituencies were facing, the CDF would not be called constituency district development fund.

Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili (PF) said President Banda promised during the campaigns that the CDF would be increased to K1 billion

He wondered whether that statement was for political expedience.

Mr Tetamashimba thanked Mr Kambwili for allegedly secretly attending MMD rallies.

He said President Banda mentioned that he would ultimately like to see the CDF increased to k1 billion
“Our projection is that let us have K1 billion next year because we want this Government to continue after 2011,” Mr Tetamashimba said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry, Felix Mutati told the House that Government had allocated K10 billion for economic empowerment programmes for each of the nine province. This brings the total allocation to K90 billion.

Mr Mutati said this was because the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) would like the beneficiaries to have easy access to financial resources and also expedite the approval process.

He said the remaining K60 had been left at the CEEC for large capital projects and special purpose vehicles.

Mr Mutati said the CEEC also realised that the targeted people may have difficulties in providing collateral

He said collateral for projects of up to K50 million would be dealt with in various ways such as asset finance, key man insurance, community referencing and other Small Medium Enterprises (SME friendly permutations.

Meanwhile, Parliament heard that 102 people died in fire accidents from the year 2000 to 2008 with Kitwe recording the highest number of fatalities at 82
Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing Crispin Musosha told the House that Lusaka recorded six deaths, four in Kabwe and another four in Ndola.

He said Kitwe recorded 82 deaths while Mufulira recorded six fatalities.

Mr Musosha was responding to a question from Kankoyo MP Percy Chanda (PF) who wanted to know the number of lives that were lost in fire from 2000, to this year.

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