By Daniel Chigundu
Warren Park legislator Shakespeare Hamauswa has called on the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube to convert the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to US Dollars using the interbank rate as a way of preserving value.
Currently, each of the 210 Parliamentary Constituencies is entitled to about $50 000 RTGS in 2019 from the budgeted $10 million meant for developmental projects.
However, with the rise in prices of materials and goods, the fund is unlikely to sponsor any meaningful projects in the constituencies.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Honourable Hamauswa said every time they are trying to procure materials against quotations they always find that prices would have changed due to fluctuation in exchange rates.
“I want to raise a point of privilege regarding the CDF issue. I would like to ask Madam Speaker, that since the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is in the House, I would like to request that our local currency should be converted to the US dollar using the inter-bank rate.
“Madam Speaker Ma’am, this is important because every time we come to submit our quotations when we go back to procure material for our projects, we normally discover that the rate which was used when we were given invoices has changed. This means that the people we lead no longer have faith in us as their representatives.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development is here; he must address this issue and protect the value of our currency. If he can provide a remedy, then he should do so, otherwise we will continually be affected by the prevailing hyperinflation,” he said.
The fund is established in terms of Section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act and unlike in previous years where the money was abused by some legislators, this time Parliament has put in place strict regulations with regard to use.
Unlike before where the legislator managed the fund on their own, the regulations demand the setting up of a constituency committee whose composition includes Senators and other members of the community and stakeholders.
The regulations also specify projects which can be financed by the fund.