THE Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour has challenged the Ministry of Commerce to explain why it keeps on increasing pledges to fund projects under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) but releases it in small amounts which have no effect on projects.
The committee, co-chaired by Katombola Member of Parliament Derrick Livune, demanded an explanation from the ministry as to why funding towards CEEC kept increasing in the Budget while only a small portion was actually released.
“You will note that in 2014, Parliament approved about K70 million, but only K5 million was released while K52 million was never realised,” he said.
Mr Livune wondered how in 2015 only K10 million was channelled to the CEEC when K82 million was approved by Parliament and yet the ministry expected the commission to function effectively.
“In 2015, about K82 million was approved but only K10 million was released, this year we have K187 million in the Budget so the question which begs for an answer is that why does the ministry keep increasing these amounts yet they are not released and nowhere near any reasonable percent.
“They keep on increasing the Budget figures when in the natural sense what you release towards CEEC is very small and you expect the commission to perform wonders,” he said. In reply, ministry permanent secretary Kayula Siame said the amount released to the fund was based on how much was released by the Ministry of Finance.
Ms Kayula said her ministry did not have 100 percent control over the release of of funds.
“The Budget presented is based on what Ministry of Finance releases to Ministry of Commerce and to CEEC.’’
She also said Government shall this year start implementing value chains for MSMEs using the US$8 million grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the Lobito Bay corridor in North-Western Province.
“This facility will be able to implement some of these value chains for MSMEs. We have looked at other cooperating partners that can support the efforts in meeting our overall objectives in rural areas,” she said.