CDF Bill to regularise spending protocols Mrs Mabiza

Zvamaida Murwira

Senior Reporter

The Constituency Development Fund Bill, aimed at ensuring there is full consultation within each constituency and standard procedures on development projects spending, is set to be tabled before Parliament during the first quarter of this year, an official has said.

The Bill is meant to ensure that a management structure is put in place to oversee spending and will also criminalise abuse of the fund following reports of misuse by some MPs.

In the past, successful prosecution of offenders was difficult because there was no law governing the use of the fund.

Treasury has allocated $420 million to CDF in this year’s National Budget, which will translate to $2 million per constituency, 10 times the $200 000 that was allocated last year.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the Bill was now at an advanced stage and would soon be tabled before Parliament.

She said the Bill would have several safety measures to curb abuse.

“The CDF Bill is aimed at creating a legal framework or law for the proper establishment of the Constituency Development Fund, its objects, management by a national structure and constituency committees,” said Mrs Mabhiza.

“The essential elements of this proposed law include composition of the fund, that is sources of funding, the establishment of the CDF Board responsible for the overall management and control of the fund, constituency development committees responsible for managing and implementing projects funded by this fund in their constituencies, and being accountable to the board. The Minister issues out policy directives in terms of this proposed law.”

Mrs Mabhiza said the Bill also intended to comply with the Constitution which obligated the State to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

“This framework is to comply with section 13 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which obligates the State and all its institutions at every level to facilitate rapid and equitable development, by among other things, bringing about balanced development of different areas of Zimbabwe, that is, both rural and urban areas.

“These measures are supposed to involve the people in the formulation and development plans and programmes that affect them. This involvement ensures effective development,” she said.

“Currently, the Bill is undergoing stakeholder consultations and preparation of necessary principles for policy approvals by Cabinet, which is expected to be done during the first quarter of 2021.”

The Bill was meant to tighten internal control mechanisms so that legislators would not abuse the fund.

It is envisaged that some of the mechanisms are that MPs will not be given cash, but the money will be deposited directly to service providers.

The CDF is given to National Assembly members to carry out development projects in their constituencies as part of deliberate efforts by Government to develop communities.

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