CSOs Demand Transparency on 3% Allocation in CDF For Needy Students
Civil society organizations in Mzimba South have challenged the Mmbelwa district council to clear the mist surrounding the administration of the 3% allocation in the Constituency Development Fund CDF meant for payment of school fees for needy students in the district.
Mzimba CSOs chair Teckson Amadu told Zodiak Online that currently, it is not clear as to how many students are benefiting from the allocation which translates into K3 million per constituency a figure which may go up owing to an increase in CDF allocations by Parliament.
"Government laid down straight forward guidelines for the allocation towards bursaries for needy students in the constituency development fund but we don't know how these funds are being used, how many students are benefiting so we want a clear explanation from the MPs and the council as to how monies allocated are being used," said Amadu.
Amadu said there are many bright students in the district whose parents are very poor or they do not have parents at all hence the need for prudent use of such resources if they are to be accorded an education.
He said as civil society they will lobby the parliamentarians as well as tracking how each parliamentarian is using the said funds and any parliamentarian who will be seen abusing the funds or failing to use it for the intended purpose will be named and shamed.
"These are a lot of funds imagine Mzimba has 11 parliamentarians which translate into K33 million towards paying for the education of needy students and now we understand the allocation to CDF has been revised upwards how many students can benefit from these monies - a lot can be assisted if our parliamentarians were serious," said Amadu.
However, district commissioner for the Mmbelwa district council Emmanuel Bambe says there is very little the council can do as the identification of needy learners and administration of the funds is squarely under members of Parliament.
Bambe said it's only imperative for traditional leaders, councillors and CSOs to work hand in hand with parliamentarians in the identification of the needy students to benefit from the allocation in the CDF to sanitize the process.
"Parliamentarians thought it wise to allocate 3% from CDF towards assisting needy students so it's at their discretion to choose to pay for needy students or not as they are the ones who are also tasked with identification of such learners," said Bambe.
Bambe said as the council they urging CSOs, traditional leaders and councillors to play a role lobbying parliamentarians to use the funds for intended purposes.
"Councillors and traditional leaders must work hand in hand with parliamentarians in the identification of needy learners in their area to sanitize the whole process," said Bambe.
Parliamentarians agreed to allocate 3% of their CDF money towards paying for needy students in their constituencies and laid down guidelines on how the process is to be done.
The CSOs are currently lobbying duty bearers, especially on the government side like in the sectors of education and social welfare to address issues that affect children in the district with support from the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia Education departments Securing children's rights through education and Protection (SCREP)Project funded by NORAD through Save the Children MAmadu.