Govt gives MPs $10m

Government has disbursed $10 million to 204 Members of Parliament for development projects in their constituencies.

An MP is entitled to $50 000 from the Constituency Development Fund, which is disbursed through Parliament.

To access the facility, legislators must set up management committees, identify projects after stakeholder consultation and provide three quotations for any purchase, among other conditions.

In a recent interview, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda said a Parliamentary Management Committee was visiting constituencies to assess CDF projects, a process that is expected to have been concluded by the end of June.

“As of (June 20), 204 members had received the CDF, only short of six. We are receiving returns. The Parliamentary Management Staff Committee has now completed six provinces out of 10 so that we have complete returns,” said Adv Mudenda.

“We have ensured that all Members of Parliament in control of CDF strictly follow the CDF constitutional requirements. After the exercise is completed, then we shall know if there are any that have not complied.

“The exercise is set to be completed end of month. The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is considering to have the CDF transformed into a law of Parliament to tighten the screws,” he said.

In 2011, four former MPs were arrested for allegedly abusing CDF allocations, while the majority of legislators failed to steer meaningful projects.

New, stringent conditions for accessing the facility have imrpoved this state of affairs.

In terms of Article 6 of the CDF constitution, as read with Section 12 of the Accounting Officer’s Manual, legislators are expected to submit a list of identified projects and signed minutes of the CDF Committee showing approval of the identified projects. The cost of any projects must not exceed $50 000 per constituency.

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