Treasury has released K2.8 billion out of the controversial K4 billion development fund to members of parliament.
Treasury spokesman Davis Sado has confirmed that the K2.8 billion has now been released to the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
“The rest of the money would be disbursed after an evaluation on how the K2.8 billion has been used,” said Sado.
Officials from the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development say they are yet to give the money to district and city councils as the ministry is putting in place modalities on how the money should be used to avoid abuse.
Critics of the government and civil society organisations accuse the government of using the tax payer money for campaigning.
Civil society organisations (SCOs), who in their nationwide protests over governance concerns last month included the K4 billion allocation in their petition, said their calls to have the fund cancelled still stand .
The CSOs have since asked president Peter Mutharika to fire Finance minister Goodall Gondwe and Local Government minister Kondwani Nankhumwa over the issue.
But Gondwe on Friday proposed an increase of the fund to K6 billion in the 2018/19 National Budget.
In the new allocation, there is a shift in target as it is set to benefit 300 area development committees (ADCs) which will be responsible for implementation of projects instead of 86 constituencies.
Apart from the K6 billion channelled to ADCs, K20.7 billion has been proposed for rural development through District Development Fund (DDF), Local Development Fund (LDF) and Constituency Development Fund (CDF)and a further K7 billion that could be used on community projects has been included in the budget. This is more than 5 percent of the total Development Budget of the Central Government.