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Treasury faulted over Constituency Development Fund mess

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At the height of reports of abuse of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) across the country, some Members of Parliament (MP) have said the Ministry of Finance is partly to blame for the mess.

Speaking in an interview on Saturday, Mzimba North legislature Agnes Nyalonje said the random disbursement of the funds from Treasury has proved problematic and creates room for abuse at every level of accountability.

She added that the development has fanned tensions among community members and the duty bearers since the latter barely understands that the money comes in instalments and at times in amounts below any anticipated project.

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“There is an issue of amounts and also the frequency, there is no organisation. Some of us would have loved if there was a predetermined amount to be disbursed quarterly. With this, it means everybody would work to that timetable and are able to programme themselves,” Nyalonje said.

“In the absence of such a systematic disbursement, it creates a level of suspicion within that chain of accountability because even the finger pointing starts and the unity which is needed for the success of the CDF misses,” she said.

MP for Kasungu West, Alex Major, echoed similar sentiments in a separate interview, saying the disorganisation at Treasury gives them and the development structures at community level a tough time to plan and implement.

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“We are proposing to Treasury through the Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe to have a set pattern of amounts for a fixed period which would be made known to all stakeholders. And I want to appeal that the K12 million borehole money which has been allocated to constituencies should not come in bits as it has been the case,” Major said.

While acknowledging the observations Karonga Central MP, Frank Mwenifumbo, stressed the need for the MPs to adapt to the erratic pay outs, citing the shrinking economy as the major problem.

He said MPs should sensitise their Area and Village Development Committees to exercise patience to ensure that the money accumulates to substantial amounts before withdrawing it for development projects.

“Our economy is shrinking. The only solution to the issue is proposing ways on how we can grow the economy. For now, let’s operate within the means. Otherwise, Treasury is doing a commendable job in honouring government’s commitment on CDF,” Mwenifumbo said.

Gondwe did not pick our call when contacted but warned during the just ended budget session that about 20 MPs implicated in the misappropriation of K80 million CDF would face prosecution.

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