Economic and social commentators have lamented failure to align the expenditure of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in line with decentralization policy.
During the Thursday panel discussion, experts comprising of Citizen Alliance Director Edward Chileka, Hadrod Mkandawire of the Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA) and Public Finance Management Expert Tokha Manyungwa all agreed that CDF was being abused due to failure to comply with prevalent policy frameworks.
The CDF is K 40 million annual allocation for development projects in all 193 constituencies.
“If duty bearers followed the decentralization framework, we would have seen resources trickling to the communities. The resistance is because some duty bearers benefit with the current state of affairs,” observed Chileka Banda.
Mkandawire shared the sentiments, calling on a multi-stakeholder approach to safeguarding resources meant for development projects.
“Safeguarding state resources at local government level is as critical as it is at the central government level. There is need to ensure that every penny is put to intended use,” he added.
Manyungwa stressed the need for adherence to policy frameworks that seek to end corruption in public procurement.
“Reports of payment for non-delivered goods or services continue to emerge. We continue to see shoddy projects as a result of corruption. But we have adequate laws and policies to deter these malpractices. It’s about enforcing and improving to seal all loopholes,” added Manyungwa.
The panel discussion on CDF was organized by a consortium of institutions comprising of Oxfam, Economics Association of Malawi (ECAMA) and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The three partner institutions are working together in a three-year project funded by the European Union (EU) on “Enhanced evidence-based research to inform policy decision making in Public Finance Management (PFM)”.