National, News

MPs grumble over CDF deficit

Charles K Mark

National Legislative Assembly Specialized Committee for Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has been allocated SSP 47.8 billion in 2023–2024 fiscal budget, the first after independence.

Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is a 3% amount of a financial year budget allocated to lawmakers’ constituencies’ essential community developmental projects.

The national assembly, on Friday last week, passed a whooping SSP 2.1 trillion national budget, of which, 3 percent was allocated to the CDF fund.

Despite the good move by the parliament to credit the CDF account, the committee is in tears that their allocation has been under-computed. The committee couldn’t recall that their chest has been dormant almost since before independence,

Chairperson of the specialized committee for CDF in the national parliament, Peter Lomude, shares their grievance to No. 1 Citizen Daily English Newspaper in an exclusive interview.

We tried our level best in the committee to say, Look, it is mandatory; the CDF is mandatory because it is by law that let the parliament consider cutting from the contingency the 5.5 billion to be added to the CDF to conform with the provisions of what is in the law,” he continued.

Though the CDF committee chairperson attested that for the last 10 years, the funding has not been operational, he decries the deficit.

“Oil revenue was SSP 245,000,000,000, so the 3 percent of that is supposed to be SSP 53 billion to go to the CDF,” Lomude complained.

He said the approved amount was under-calculated by SSP 5.5 billion shortfall.

According to Lomude, the committee decided to maintain the 47.8 billion SSP that was passed and ascended to by the president and allocated for the constituencies for 2023-2024 financial year.

“We want to put all this preparation in place so that we will start to ask the Minister of Finance and plan to disburse this money into the account of the CDF,” he said.

He revealed that the CDF account has not been working for the last ten years, adding that the committee wants to know what is in that account first.

“We are able to identify the gaps. Some of the things that are promoting corruption within the CDF are that, first of all, the previous CDF members, the people who are in charge of the committee, were not supervising these projects in accordance with what is required in the law.” He noted.

The specialized committee chairperson further stressed that the lawmakers don’t have any right to hold the CDF money meant for development projects in their respective constituencies.

“The law requires that this money from the account of the CDF goes to a bank account opened in the name of each constituency. So, the idea of how MPs accessed this money previously was a mistake, and we are going to correct this,” Lomude stated.

The CDF chair said they will employ access to information as an important way to promote transparency and accountability.

“We want to ensure that the community and the general public, especially the constituencies, are fully involved in the process of supervision of the CDF project so that we guarantee transparency and accountability in the utilization of the CDF.” He hinted.

It was on March 20, 2023, during the reopening of the parliament, that President Salva Kiir supported the parliament and directed the former minister of finance to release the arrears owed to the CDF fund and to consider the allocation in the budget.


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