The majority of Members of Parliament are failing to meet the stringent requirements to access the Community Development Fund (CDF), with only 20 legislators out of a possible 120 having their projects approved as of last week, it has been learnt.
Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) has come up with basic minimum conditions that have to be satisfied before MPs can access the kitty, which is meant to sponsor specified projects in various constituencies across the country.
The stringent conditions are specifically meant to prevent abuse of funds.
Last month, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda expressed concern over the low uptake of the funds.
Parliament sources told The Herald last week that so far less than 20 legislators have had their projects approved.
“There has been low uptake of CDF money,” said a source.
“The tough conditions that were introduced by Parliament are causing a lot of nightmares to legislators.
“Mind you, Parliament had given a deadline of mid-last year for project proposals, but up to now MPs are still to submit.
“Those that have submitted had their proposals rejected for lack of compliance with the rules.
When contacted for comment, Adv Mudenda said Parliament will still insist on the stipulated requirements.
“I am advised that there has been some response, but I do not have the actual number at the moment,” he said.
“We have emphasised that all of the requirements must be met; that is our position.
“You cannot meet some of the requirements and fail to meet another one and expect to get the money. One has to meet all of them.”
Under the new CDF constitution, the Parliamentary Staff Management Committee is mandated to disburse money to constituencies for project implementation.
In essence, Constituency Development Committees are required to identify projects within their constituencies by consulting with all stakeholders.
In terms of Article 6 of the CDF constitution as read together 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.
However, the estimated cost for the projects must not exceed $50 000.