Members of Parliament (MPs) in Lilongwe have used 23 percent of the 2016/2017 Constituent Development Fund (CDF) budget as the financial year draws to an end in three months time, it has been learnt.
The 2016/2017 financial budget allocated K324 million which was supposed to be divided among 18 constituencies in Lilongwe.
However a report presented by the Finance Committee of Lilongwe District Council during a council meeting held on Tuesady at Lilongwe District council shows that the council has so far received nearly K148 million for CDF which is 46 percent of the total budget allocation.
The report shows that out of the K148 million, nearly K73 million representing nearly 23 percent of the total budget has been used by MPs for their constituencies.
Member of Parliament for Lilongwe North East, Maxwell Thyolera, expressed his worries over the underutilisation of CDF in the district.
“This is sending a bad signal to central government and also our voters. It is a going to affect the response on our plea to the Minister of Finance to increase CDF from K18 million to K25 million. We need to find the root cause of the low rate of utilisation,” he said.
District Commissioner for Lilongwe, Charles Makanga attributed the problem during the meeting to delays in submission of projects on which the money is supposed to be used.
“There are some MPs who prefer the council to keep the money for them till the end of the year so that they can use funding for three quarters on big development projects. This tends to affect the rate at which funds are utilised. Other MPs also delay in submitting projects for the year which delays the utilisation of funds when money is available,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Lilongwe Mpenu, Watson Makala Ngozo recommended that the Internal Procurement Committee (IPC) for the council should be meeting frequently to reduce the load which accumulates when projects are submitted late.
“The other contributing factor is that the IPC does not regularly meet which allows projects to accumulate. My recommendation is that this committee should be meeting more often that once per quarter. I also recommend that that we should be submitting our projects in advance to ensure that funds are timely used,” he said, a recommendation which the council adopted.
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