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Finance Minister clarifies errors in CDF supplementary budget

Former Finance Minister and now UPND Liuwa Member of Parliament Situmbeko Musokotwane

Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane has clarified on the recent events surrounding the alleged errors in the 11.3 billion kwacha supplementary budget, which was unanimously passed by Parliament last week Friday.

Dr. Musokotwane has explained that the case of the K298 million supplementary budget was a provision for only one component of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which is under Community Projects and not the entire CDF projects.

Dr. Musokotwane stated that a total sum of about K4.4 billion was allocated to CDF, for all its three components, which are Community Projects, Youth, Women and Community Empowerment, and Secondary Boarding School and Skills Development Bursaries.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka, regarding the issue that arose from parliament and now to the general public, Dr. Musokotwane revealed that the Community Projects components had a provision of about 2.7 billion kwacha, of which the 298 million kwacha was added.

He said this was out of the remaining funds from the provision for community projects for last year which was not utilized, attributing it to slowness in the absorption of CDF.

He noted that instead of recalling the money to the treasury, a decision was arrived at to push it back to community projects in each constituency under community projects for this year.

The Minister hoped to restore public confidence in government planning, referring to the issue as a case of mere misinterpretation and not an indication of inaccuracies in the budget.

“We are supplementing more money to the 2023 budget to the extent of K298 249 818 million only under community projects, the money being a carryover from last year’s CDF budget under the community projects component of the CDF,” Dr. Musokotwane clarified.

And the Minister noted that the government is in a hurry to push development to all parts of the country through the successful implementation of the CDF.

He noted that following measures to identify the challenges associated with implementation of CDF, the government is putting in place various initiatives to streamline the implementation of CDF projects so that the development gap between rural and urban areas is bridged.

Dr. Musokotwane was displeased with the low utilization of funds, due to issues of legal provisions, delays in approvals and also the negative attitude by some council employees.