Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has told Parliament that about K80 million is missing from the K3 billion allocated to 16 districts under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and District Development Fund (DDF).
The minister gave the gloomy picture yesterday in his winding up speech on the proposed 2017/18 National Budget in the National Assembly in Lilongwe after he raised the CDF by K2 million to K20 million per constituency.
He said a systematic audit of 16 councils was carried out which found that mismanagement of funds in CDF and DDF had occurred and millions of kwacha did not go into development projects as planned.
Sharing a confidential excerpt of the audit report on CDF and DDF, Gondwe said most of the resources were abused.
He said: “In both of these, out of the K3 billion, an amount of over K80 million was misused and where it was used properly, the structures created such as school classrooms, bridges and roads were grossly of substandard and grossly unattractive so that within a short time we will need to create replacements of these structures.”
Gondwe emphasised the need to examine the use of resources for grass roots economic development channelled through DDF and CDF as well as Local Development Fund (LDF).
The excerpt from the audit carried out last year which Gondwe read out indicated that MPs were the ones sourcing quotations instead of procurement departments in councils.
The audit also found that such interference was contributing to the creation of ghost projects and materials not being delivered at project sites.
Reads the excerpt in part: “In some cases, the goods and materials were procured from suppliers that were related to the honourable members of Parliament.
“In addition, many projects were initiated by the honourable members of Parliament only without the involvement of their area development committees.”
Gondwe said before he could increase the allocations to DDF and CDF, there was need to examine ways of ensuring resources are used for intended purposes and that the structures constructed are of acceptable quality and standards.
“It is being proposed that before we can increase the CDF, as much as the majority of members have requested this year, we should increase CDF by only K2 million to K20 million per member and nothing to DDF,” he said.
The announcement was welcomed with murmurs of discontent from the MPs although they remained quiet when Gondwe reported the levels of mismanagement of the funds.
Instead, the minister increased the National Local Government Finance Committee allocation by K6 billion to cater for recruitment of 10 500 teachers and K1.5 billion to Ministry of Gender for early childhood development and extension of the social cash transfer programme to more districts. n