MPs Granted $2 Million Dollars Each In Increased Perennially Squandered CDF
14 December 2020
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Mthuli Ncube

Government has allocated $420 million to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the 2021 national budget, which will translate to $2 million per constituency 10 times the $200 000 that was allocated this year.

The CDF is given to National Assembly members to carry out developmental projects in their constituencies as part of deliberate efforts by the Government to develop communities.

The allocation was made by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube when he presented the 2021 national budget a fortnight ago.

Parliamentarians have been complaining that the $200 000 was no longer adequate to carry out any meaningful development projects due to inflation.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, confirmed the figure yesterday.

“Yes, that is the figure but it has previously been managed by Parliament of Zimbabwe,” she said. “But we are trying to come up with a legal framework governing CDF to ensure accountability in its utilisation. So we will be coming with an Act of Parliament to that effect.”

This week, Members of Parliament expressed mixed views on the figure in the National Assembly, while contributing to a debate on the 2021 national budget.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development chairperson Cde Felex Mhona welcomed the funds.

“The Committee welcomes the allocation towards the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of ZWL$420 million which translates to $2 million per constituency,” he said. “The Committee, however, recommends timeous disbursements and a review of the allocation to an equivalent of US$50 000 per constituency if it is to make meaningful impact.”

Primary and Secondary Education portfolio committee chairperson, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, implored legislators to use their CDF money in furtherance of education given the challenges that affected the sector this year.

“On CDF, we want to persuade the Hon Members that have not taken CDF for next year; we are going to be coming to you and say do you not think that it is important to prioritise at least for next year the issues that are to do with education,” said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Bikita South MP Cde Josiah Sithole (Zanu PF) urged the Government to continue providing money for CDF in order to develop communities.

He wanted the Constituency Development Fund to be taken seriously. “I think we need to make sure that we name the fund constituency development to mean exactly what we are doing because when we say we develop, we have to develop and that should be adequate.”

Mbizo MP Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) said the CDF, if properly funded, will go a long way in developing communities.

“Members of Parliament are seen as practitioners of social development,” he said. “So, the boreholes, the soccer tournaments and dip tanks that you see are being developed by Members of Parliament. If you do not support the CDF, you are killing the whole community development initiative and the President is on record to say, you are supposed to serve your people. So that is a principle and agreed policy — Members of Parliament are supposed to serve their people.”