MEMBERS of Parliament have lost hope of getting this year’s US$50 000 Constituency Development Funds.
In separate interviews yesterday, the MPs said they were supposed to have received half of the amount by this month.
They said it was doubtful that the money will be disbursed anytime soon as Finance Minister Tendai Biti always tells them that there is no money.
“None of us has received anything from Treasury. We last received money for 2010 and did not get anything for 2011,” said Cde Clifford Sibanda, the MP for Bubi.
“Minister Biti is always saying there is no money. We doubt whether we will get anything this year. We will see what he has when he presents his mid-term fiscal policy review.
“This is shocking because we expected the funds to be availed on time for us to facilitate development in our constituencies.
“We always question him on the issue, but he says there is pressure on the fiscus. It seems Minister Biti does not know what he is doing. There is no hope in him and this is so disheartening. He should just admit that he has failed as a minister. We have always wondered how a lawyer would manage finances.”
Umzingwane legislator Ms Nomalanga Khumalo said they were frustrated by delays in the disbursement of CDF allocations.
“We have not received anything for CDF this year and we do not know when the money would be availed,” she said.
“This money is long overdue and legislators always ask about it in Parliament only to be told that there is no money. The Government should improve its revenue inflows and ensure that all money goes to Treasury to support development programmes.”
Binga South MP Mr Gabbuza Joel Gabuza said: “We should have received half of the money by now, but as it is, no one has received anything.”
Beitbridge East MP Cde Kembo Mohadi said this year’s CDF allocation had missed the deadline, adding that Government must first conclude the audit of previous allocations.
“I do not know why the allocations are delayed.
“Of course, resources are hard to come by but usually allocations start with MPs and then ministers get it later,” said Cde Mohadi.
“I understand the audit of the CDF projects is still on. I think it makes sense to first complete the audit and see how the money was used before disbursing the second tranche.”
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga expressed doubt that the CDF allocations will be released anytime soon.
“The MPs have not received the money. The fiscal space is extremely tight unless we have massive revenue inflows,” said Minister Matinenga, the MP for Buhera
He said the audit of previous allocations was still on.
“The audit is still on. Initially, we made audit samples but because of the political misconceptions over the exercise we have now decided to audit every constituency in the country.”
Minister Matinenga could, however, not be drawn into giving statistics of how many constituencies had been audited so far, but said Matabeleland North and South and the Midlands had not been audited.
Minister Biti could not be reached for comment.