• CDF committees must ensure that all potential cooperatives are equally considered for empowerment grants.
• It has come to the Ministry’s attention that some CDF Committees are giving preferences to old cooperatives.
• Period of existence of cooperatives does not matter in the provision of empowerment grants and loans.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has directed Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committees to ensure that all potential cooperatives are equally considered for the empowerment grants despite the period they were created.
Speaking during a joint media briefing, Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Nicolas Phiri stated that it has come to the Ministry’s attention that some CDF Committees are giving preferences to old cooperatives, while new ones are neglected when considering cooperatives to benefit from the empowerment fund, which must not be the case.
He said the period of existence of cooperatives does not matter in the provision of the empowerment grants and loans, stating that what matters is the proposals for which the grants will be applied and the potential to create jobs and expand businesses.
“We have also received concerns about the implications of certain legal provisions that have an impact on the implementation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF),it is therefore important that these concerns are addressed and the nation is informed on how Government is ensuring that there is no negative impact on the CDF implementation process,” Mr. Phiri said.
Mr. Phiri added that of the particular interest is the public procurement Act number 8 of 2002, section 72 subsection 2(e) which states that a contact ,purchase order, letter of bid acceptance or other communication in any form conveying acceptance of a bid or award of contract shall not be issued prior to any other approvals required, including clearance of the contract by the treasury and the legal advice of the attorney general and section 71 subsection (1) which states that an amendment or variation to a contract shall not be affected without the approval of the treasury and legal advice of the attorney general.
“These provisions also apply to the implementation of the CDF and therefore, Government recognizes the need to put measures in place so that these legal provisions do not become bottlenecks in the smooth implementation of CDF,” he stated.
He also revealed that the Ministry has processed 30 CDF applications in the last two weeks out of the 63 it received.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance Accountant General Kennedy Musonda said Government had engaged commercial banks in the facilitation of loans under CDF.
Speaking at the same briefing, Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary for Legal Services Bwalya Mwenya said government is doing everything possible to ensure that there is transparency and justice in the CDF disbursement.