CDF slashed, salaries raised

Legislators are not getting the US$50 000 Constituency Development Funds this year because of the unbudgeted rise in civil servants salaries in June.

The Finance minister Tendai Biti budgeted US$8 million in the 2011 budget to bankroll the scheme. But Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga told legislators this week that there would be no disbursement of CDF funds because money budgeted for that purpose had gone to bankroll the unbudgeted civil servants' mid-year pay rise and to buy medicine for clinics.

"We have not got our allocation for this year," said Mt Darwin East MP Betty Chikava. "We started projects and members in our constituencies were very happy but all the projects have come to a halt. We would like to know whether we are going to get another allocation?"

Matinenga said there was no money.

"Everyone here wants to go to the rural areas to do various projects to uplift the standard of living in the rural areas," Matinenga said. "Everyone in this House is looking forward to the funds that you were allocated, but let it be known to all of us here that when we are doing the budget, it does not mean that the funds are available. At the present moment, I think we are all aware that the money that we get as a government, we get from taxes. I am sorry to say that the money that is coming into our coffers is not enough, so we have to prioritise."

Matinenga said there were more pressing emergencies such as clinics and civil servants' salaries.

The CDF was created to fight poverty at the grassroots level through the implementation of community-based projects which have long term effects of improving the economic welfare of the people. However, there are widespread concerns about the utilization of funds from the previous US$50 000 tranche.

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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