BULAWAYO residents have urged government to increase the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the 2013 national budget, saying it is critical in alleviating the plight of the poor in most constituencies.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
The call was made at a pre-budget consultation meeting held by the parliamentary committee on budget, finance and investment promotion in the city.
Residents said despite reports of gross corruption, the fund should not be scrapped but increased to enable legislators to initiate meaningful developmental projects.
They say the current US$50 000 was inadequate and should be increased to US$70 000 noting development it brought in some constituencies far outweigh reports of the fund’s abuse.
Four legislators, Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T Pumula), Marvellous Khumalo (MDC-T St Mary’s), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba) and Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu-PF Magunje), were earlier this year arraigned before the courts on allegations of misappropriating the CDF.
Charges against Ndambakuwa and Mhlanga were withdrawn before plea while the cases against Machacha and Khumalo are still pending.
The committee chairperson Paddy Zhanda told participants that not all contributions would be incorporated into the final document as they are too financially handicapped to reach all parts of the country.
“As a committee, we would like to spread our consultative meetings countrywide, but due to budgetary constraints we are not able to do so,” said Zhanda.
“Our task is to gather views, consolidate them and forward them to the ministry of finance for consideration.”