Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday demanded an increase in the allocation to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from K40 million per year to K200 million.
The MPs said CDF was helping in local development projects in constituencies as well as supporting needy students. They argued that for significant impact, the allocation should be increased substantially.
Parliamentary Ad hoc Committee on Constituency Development Fund and Water Development Fund Guidelines chairperson Ralph Jooma yesterday presented a report on the impact of CDF and how it is being managed.
He said there is need for a substantial increase to ensure that more projects are carried out.
Jooma, who is also Mangochi Monkey Bay MP, called on government to be increasing the fund every year He said: “The fund has to be increased substantially. CDF is helping in many ways in the constituency development. There is really need to increase it.
“This is the fund that everyone is putting his eyes on. Councils’ eyes are on this fund, chiefs’ eyes are on this fund and the public too. So, it’s a fund that can be tracked.”
Jooma said the Ministry of Finance should decide the rate of increment while Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua proposed that the amount be increased to K200 million.
Kalua’s proposal was supported by several legislators.
The Rumphi East lawmaker also called for the arrest of district council officials who abuse the fund.
He claimed that district councils use the CDF as a weapon to fight MPs by, among other things, discrediting them.
In his contribution, Rumphi West MP McLean Yona Mkandawire also called for stiffer punishment for people that abuse CDF.
He said MPs are failing to embark on projects because some council officials are abusing the funds. Mkandawire said MPs are accused of squandering the money when council officials are the ones abusing it.
On his part, Mulanje Bale MP Victor Musowa proposed an increase from K40 million to K100 million or more for development to flourish.
The MPs have also proposed measures to protect the fund from being abused by local councils. The measures include opening of a special current account for CDF and restricting funds usage to CDF projects.
They also proposed that Parliament should recruit CDF desk officers to handle the CDF in local councils.
Another proposal is for the bursary allocation to be pegged at 10 percent of the CDF allocation instead of the fixed K3 million.
CDF was introduced in 2006 to facilitate development in constituencies.
The fund has, however, been prone to abuse with several audit reports highlighting weak accountability and management tools.
Currently, at least six legislators are under investigation while former Mzimba Hora MP Christopher Mzomera Ngwira was convicted for abuse of CDF resources