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Citizens urged to play role in how CDF funds are utilised

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A call has been made for citizens to take part in deciding how Constituency Development Funds (CDF) are to be used in their various communities.

CDF was introduced in 1995 as “instrument” to facilitate the deliverance of public developmental goods and services directly to local communities.

Despite the introduction of the Fund, the provision of and access to basic essential public services by local communities has remained poor in Zambia says the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) which commissioned a study on “Understanding the Usage of CDF in Zambia.

The Case of Education, Health, Water and Sanitation Projects,” in February 2019 in a bid to enhance the performance of CDF.

Apparently, a pressure group, Alliance for Community Actions (ACA) was recently in Nyimba Constituency training members of the CDF committee, discussing their role as duty bearers and teaching them how the community can benefit from the Fund.

The pressure group also issued CDF guidelines aimed at making it easy for citizens to know more about the CDF and how they can access the fund.

The previous week the pressure group was in Chipata where they also trained members of CDF Committees for Luangeni and Chipata Central Constituencies.

Participants discussed their prioritization and monitoring role, and how the community can benefit from the CDF.

One participant, Daniel Jemwa said since CDF is usually a need-based allocation released according to the needs of each constituency, it is important for citizens to have a say on how the money is used.

Another participant, Jack Kashina implored Members of Parliament to engage constituency members and agree before applying for the funds.

“MPs should not dictate to the people how the money is to be used. They should ask the citizens who know their needs,” he said.

Meanwhile, in the 2022 National Budget, the Government has increased the CDF from K1.6 million to K25.7 million per constituency.

And the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has already released K198 million which is part of the 20% allocated towards the Secondary Boarding Schools and Skills Development Bursary Scheme from the 2022 Constituency Development Fund.

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