Members of Parliament Tuesday afternoon bluntly demanded an increase to their Community Development Fund (CDF) allocation, saying it is in direct response to the decrease in the buying power of the Kwacha.
Their demands were made clear when the members teamed up to force the Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga to defer vote number 121 of the National Local Governance Finance committee.
The vote asked that the House approve the provision of K22,431,507,456 on vote 121 – National Local Government Finance Committee be revised to K23,205,730,322 and stand part of the Revised Recurrent Estimates.
After presenting the vote before the house, several members rose and rallied behind each other in asking the minister why their CDF, currently at K5 million per annum, and falls under the vote has not been increased and called for the minister to defer the vote for reconsideration.
“By devaluating the Kwacha, the buying power has seriously been eaten up. Even LDF projects such as construction of houses for teachers has been affected,” said Thyolo Thava MP in the house Lifred Nawena.
“But the current allocation indicates the money has not been reviewed but rather retained. We seriously ask for the reconsideration of the CDF allocation,” Nawena added.
Chitipa North representative Aladin Masebo said it was not their intention to overstretch government but it was of practical evidence that the devaluation and floating of the Kwacha left the CDF almost halved.
He further said the CDF was important as it was an equitably distributed national ‘cake’ which reaches out to all constituents in the country than the other procedures of allocating of boreholes and other developmental structures to constituencies which sometimes leaves out other constituencies.
“Therefore we ask the minister to reconsider the CDF. To us a reasonable amount of an increase of up to K10 Million would be considered … ,” said Masebo amidst a notably huge backing from his fellow back benchers.
Lipenga in his words said he agreed with the parliamentarians on the importance of the CDF. He however raised concern over various media reports which faulted the members of abuse of CDF.
The Finance Minister said resources played a part in the CDF allocation which had not changed.
“In a good year that should not be a problem and that could explain why that was not a problem last year. However, I hereby call for the deferment of the vote (number 121 of the National Local Governance Finance committee). This is not that the resources are there, but since it’s a general view, I would deter the vote,” said the finance minister amidst the seemingly happy members.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :