Parliament

What Parliament Thinks About CDF

 Parliamentary Debates – Thursday, March 22, 2012

CONSTRUCTION OF RING AND TOWNSHIP ROADS IN LUSAKA

247. Mr Muteteka (Chisamba) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing what progress the Government had made on the construction of ring and township roads as part of the Lusaka City Master Plan.

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that detailed designs for the ring roads have been submitted to the Government for review. All the people whose properties are affected by the project have accepted to be paid off and, to this effect, have signed agreements with the council. The Government has since released K30 billion to the Lusaka City Council (LCC) to pay off all the people who are affected by the project.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muteteka: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Deputy Minister for that response. The Lusaka City Master Plan for the construction of ring and township roads was developed as a result of the concerns of motorists and stakeholders. This is the more reason that donors indicated that they were willing to participate in funding this project as early as last year. Are they still willing or they have they pulled out? If so, is this why this project has been delayed?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, this is the time and moment when Zambia is very conducive to donor funding because the Government has promised to stamp out corruption and the abuse of office.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: My ministry is one of the ministries that is enjoying donor support.

The hon. Member of Parliament may also wish to know that structural changes require a lot of work, thought and expert advice. We are taking time to implement this project because we want to ensure that we do not fall into the same trap that our colleagues were in where shoddy works were the order of the day. The people kept complaining about the quality of infrastructure which was being developed under the previous regime.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, I am aware that a feasibility study has already been made. Will this project be completely donor funded or the Government will also contribute some funds thereto?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I am aware that the hon. Member of Parliament who has asked this question was part of the debate of the 2012 Budget. I am sure that he should be in a position to appreciate the fact that the PF Government has allocated quite a good chunk of money to the development of infrastructure such as the one we are talking about.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, when will the people who will be affected by the implementation of the project be paid their money?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, people cannot be paid before the works start. I said earlier that this Government is not going to fall into the trap of ever being cited as having abused power. The families that will be affected by the project will only be paid their money when its implementation begins.

I thank you, Sir.

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, this is an extremely important project. Motorists, especially in Lusaka and other towns along the line of rail, would appreciate more detailed information from the hon. Minister. What is the special distribution of the ring roads in particular, especially in Lusaka?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I would really appreciate it if the hon. Member for Nalikwanda would put that question in writing so that it can be responded to comprehensively. It should not be asked as a supplementary question. I am willing to come back to this august House to give the full details regarding the question by the hon. Member for Nalikwanda when I am officially requested to do so.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

VUBWI HIGH SCHOOL

248. Dr Kazonga (Vubwi) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to convert Vubwi Day High School in Vubwi Parliamentary Constituency into a boarding school;

(b)    if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

(c)    when science laboratories would be constructed at the school to enhance learning and teaching standards.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to convert Vubwi Day High School into a boarding school. The ministry will consider the construction of laboratories at the school in the 2013 Budget.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that pupils are improvising in terms of boarding facilities? This is not good for the learning and teaching environment, particularly for the girl child.

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament ought to know that we share his anxieties. Vubwi Day High School has only 1 x 3 classroom blocks. The other classroom blocks being used are sheds which belong to the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ). These sheds were abandoned by the TBZ, hence the ministry’s decision to start using them as classroom blocks although they are different from the standard classroom blocks. The ministry is also aware that what is required is the construction of a new day and boarding school. The school must be supported because it is already a centre for both Grade 9 and 12 examinations. As a ministry, we undertake to put, in the next infrastructure plan, the building of boarding facilities at Vubwi Day High School, especially, now, considering that Vubwi is a district.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, when does the ministry intend to produce the 2012 Annual Infrastructure Development Work Plan?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, if the question was on the 2012 Annual Infrastructure Development Work Plan for Vubwi, I would be tempted to answer it. However, it is a completely different question altogether. All the same, the ministry will finalise the 2012 Annual Infrastructure Development Work Plan next week. It should be available to hon. Members of this august House as quickly as it is finalised so that each one of them will know the limitations that we are facing and what will be worked on.

I thank you, Sir.

CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND

249.     Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    what the impact of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) had been on the socio-economic development of constituencies from inception to date; and

(b)    when the CDF for 2012 would be released to all the constituencies.

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I urge the House to pay attention as I give a comprehensive answer which is of benefit to all the 150 constituencies.

Mr Speaker, the ministry has not measured the impact of the CDF on the socio-economic development of constituencies from inception to date. However, there are two major studies that were conducted by Caritas Zambia and the Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) on the impact of the CDF which are in the public domain. The findings of these studies indicated the following:

(i)    many constituencies have been unable to account for the CDF resulting in the loss of public funds in some cases. Furthermore, studies show that there is a greater need for the communities and the districts to harmonise project proposals and projects in line with national plans. This will help to maximise the impact of resource utilisation;

(i)    each constituency should prioritise the projects in a coherent strategy which is linked to national goals and has the timeframe of five or more years if they have to have a long-term impact;

(ii)    the current CDF guidelines of 2006 are too weak to enforce its provisions, as the legal mandate of the institutions administering the CDF lack the necessary legal backing;

(iii)    there is no effective co-ordinating mechanism at local level to monitor and streamline the multiple sources of funding flowing to the grassroots; and

(v)    the audit reports have revealed massive corruption in the utilisation and management of the CDF which is as a result of lack of reporting and poor oversight. Sadly too, despite the reports of corruption, culprits have not been punished.

It is clear that without a proper legislative framework, avenues for redress and strong systems for accountability, decentralisation schemes, including the CDF, are more likely to bring corruption to the local level than achieve greater gains in development.

The ministry may consider commissioning a study to assess the impact of the CDF on the socio-economic development of constituencies from inception to date from the Central Government perspective when it mobilises funds for the consultancy, as there is no provision to undertake such a programme of work in the 2012 National Budget.

Mr Speaker, the CDF for 2012, whose allocation is K1 billion per constituency, and translates to K150 billion, has been scheduled for disbursement to all the 150 constituencies in June, 2012.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, in view of the report from Caritas Zambia, is the PF Government considering abolishing the CDF?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I am amazed that the hon. Member could ask such a  question …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: … because when we debated the 2012 Budget, there was a cry by my colleagues on the right to raise the CDF to K5 billion and we managed to raise it to K1 billion. However, if he wishes the PF Government to consider the abolition of the CDF, that could be up for debate.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matafwali (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out when the Government will undertake the audit which was ordered by the President of the Republic of Zambia on the usage of the 2011 CDF.

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, the audit is, currently, underway and we have, in fact, received some reports on some of the constituencies that have been audited. At an appropriate date, the results of the audit will be made available to hon. Members of Parliament. We wish to say that the findings of Caritas Zambia and EAZ are extremely serious. Hon. Members of Parliament must take them seriously.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, has the PF Government and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, in particular, issued new guidelines for the CDF?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, the thinking of the PF is that guidelines are usually loose. This is the reason culprits who abuse the CDF go unpunished. We are coming up with legislation called the CDF Act. The preparatory paper for the Act is currently in circulation and will be presented to Cabinet. I look forward to hon. Members of Parliament coming to support it when it comes to the House so that the culprits can be punished.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, I like the vigour that the hon. Deputy Minister …

Mr Kaingu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Ntundu: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the guidance you have given to this House with regard to raising points of order, but this point of order is very urgent. Are the hon. Ministers of Defence and Home Affairs in order to mobilise the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force, Zambia National Service and Mobile Unit and deploy them to the Western Province to threaten people who are consulting each other domestically?

I seek your serious ruling, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

I will request the hon. Member, given the gravity of the matter raised, to file in, as soon as possible, an urgent question so that we transmit it to the appropriate hon. Ministers.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that I was impressed with the vigour that has been exhibited by the hon. Minister from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Ntundu: Sir, now that the hon. Minister has informed this House that the CDF will be released in June, which is a good thing, what is causing the delay in approving the CDF committees since this ministry seems to be eager to release the CDF? Who will look at the projects if there is a delay in the approval of the CDF committees?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, what was said is that the money is expected to be released in June this year. There is a difference between saying it will be released in June and that it is expected to be released in June.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Sir, there has been no delay in approving the CDF committees. The process of approving the CDF committees involves inviting the councils and the hon. Members of Parliament to submit the suggested members to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. Once processed, they are approved.

Mr Speaker, let me take advantage of this question to inform the House that the reason we have had to send back the lists of some of the committees suggested is that their membership consists of people who hold party positions, such as constituency and ward chairmen.

Sir, during this tenure of office, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing will not accept that. This is one of the reasons we have had the kind of problems that are highlighted in the Caritas and the EAZ reports.

So, I would like to inform the hon. Members that when we advise them to resubmit names of the CDF committee members, they should include members of the community, opinion leaders and people who will support the developmental activities. The CDF is not for party organisation. It is for the development of the constituency.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, obviously, the results of the two reports paint a gloomy picture regarding the utilisation of the CDF. I would like to know whether it is true that the lack of proper utilisation of the CDF can be linked to the lack of capacity in our district councils.

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, my visit to the different councils of the country highlighted the fact that we do not just have an issue with capacity, but also the abuse which was rampart under the MMD Government because nobody was punished for the wrongs they did. Once we start punishing people for abusing their offices, corruption will come to an end. This is why we are working hard to have the Act in place.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the CDF for 2011 has been disbursed to all the constituencies.

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, all the CDFs that was allocated for 2011 has been disbursed. If there is a constituency that has not received the fund, it should, please, inform me because there could be just some transitional problem between banks. We have, in the past, experienced that, where a bank receives the money, but does not transmit it, especially for constituencies such as Luwingu that do not have any banking facilities.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya (Petauke): Mr Speaker, I just want to seek clarification from the hon. Minister who has stated that, during her tenure, party cadres will not be part of these committees. Does she not risk disagreeing, once again, with the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, who stated, clearly, on Youth Day, and rightly so, that party cadres are also citizens and must be considered for positions.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to inform the House that, in my statement, I said ‘party officials’. I did not talk about party cadres. If you go to the English Dictionary, there is a clear distinction between the two definitions. I am surprised that the hon. Member stated that I risk disagreeing with the President once again. I do not know of any time when I have disagreed with the President.

However, Sir, I would like to state, clearly, in this august House that the CDF is for the development of the constituency. Therefore, we need to make sure that the people whom we put on the CDF committees are legally supposed to be on them.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s vocabulary.

Mr Ntundu: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Sir, now that the hon. Minister has not told us the difference between profiling in June and releasing in June, can she state when exactly she will release the CDF without using the terminology of profiling in June.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I just would like the hon. Member of Parliament to also remember when our portfolios were described in this august House. I am sure she will remember that this House has a Minister of Finance and National Planning who is responsible for collecting and disbursing money. Therefore, my wishes are dependent on the actions of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. I just hope the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will act in line with my wishes.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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