Members of Parliament Thursday passed the National Budget to the tune of K1.323 trillion but not before they twisted the arm of Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, to increase Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from the current K18 million to K23 million.
Although the nation might rejoice that we now have a budget, Gondwe remains a worried man. He is worried that some MPs might steal money meant for the CDF as they have always done.
Typical of their selfish nature, the MPs wanted the CDF to jump to K30 million per constituency. Gondwe has been rejecting demands by the parliamentarians until yesterday when they tied passing of the budget to the increase of the CDF—the House had to adjourn for a good 40 minutes.
Moved by their insatiable appetite, the MPs also clapped hands and ululated when Leader of the House, Kondwani Nankhumwa, announced that the business committee had agreed to move the water project fund administration from district councils to the parliamentarians.
While we fault the MPs for displaying selfishness, we are also dismayed by the desperation shown by the government in failing to deal with the thieving MPs. Gondwe knows MPs who have abused the funds. Treasury has been carrying out audits which revealed districts and MPs who have stolen the funds.
It is very surprising that the government is failing to make the lawmakers account for the public money. Perhaps the majority of the abusers are governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) MPs.
We expect Gondwe as the man in charge of the tax-payers money to show seriousness and lead in making the erring parliamentarians account for their abuse.
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