The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) should be incorporated in the Local Government Equalization Fund (LGEF) as running both funds separately is a duplication of roles and an overload of responsibilities especially for local councils, Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has said.
Appearing before the committee on local government, housing and chief’s affairs yesterday ZIPAR research fellow Gibson Masubu said it would be appropriate for the CDF to be swallowed under the LGEF for better and easy management.
“The LGEF would be playing the same role as does the CDF, if both of these continue to run parallel, it would be a duplication or roles and an overload of responsibilities especially for local councils.in the name of value for money, and the need to improve efficiency in management of public funds, the two may have to be combined so that they are administered and managed as one, ‘’ he explained.
He said research had shown that very little had been done to implement the decentralization policy since its introduction in 2002.
Mr Masubu said the policy lacked concentration in issues pertaining to decision making authority, functions from the centre to the lowest level , matching resources, coordinating and implementing mechanisms to a ‘bottom up flow on integrated development planning and budgeting.
Among its recommendations on the implementation of the fund, ZIPAR suggested that constituencies should develop a five year development plan. Mr Masubu said the plan should clearly outline their development objectives that were aligned to national development priority. “Annual CDF plans which may be developed by the CDC should thus be based on the immediate objectives of the five-year constituency development plan, in this regard a superior and legislated watchdog institution in form of the DDCC, with power to sanction institutions,” Mr Masubu said. He said among the long term measures that could be taken for the fund could be the full contextualization of the local authority’s administration.
Mr Masubu said there was need to speed up decentralization of the governance system by building requisite local capacities and matching resources to local authorities.
“This way government will be able to circumvent resource wastages associated with having parallel government structures for delivery of related developmental services to local communities,” he said.
Mr Masubu explained that the CDF should be apportioned using an allocation formula in order to uphold its core purpose of poverty alleviation.