Wednesday, February 28
Shadow

World Bank wants CDF granted on performance

The World Bank has proposed that money going towards the Constituency Development Fund be granted based on performance.

World Bank Malawi Lead Governance Specialist Debby Isser was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday during the review of the Governance to Enable Service Delivery (GESD) Project.

Currently, lawmakers get K100 million per constituency regardless of the performance of the fund.

“The World Bank encourages leveraging all development funds at the local government level —including CDF and boreholes — to reduce fragmentation and scale up delivery of functional projects responsive to district needs,” Isser said.

Isser said, looking at the development budget that the districts have, the vast majority of the funds are in CDF, especially now following last year’s hike to K100 million per annum.

“So what we would like to see is a couple of things including having the same rules applying to different types of money and also to have it more pooled rather than fragmented because the more it’s pooled together, you can build more flagship kinds of projects rather than too much piecemeal and fragmentation,” Isser said.

But Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Chairperson Gladys Ganda said there is a need for thorough analysis on how best this could be implemented.

“It is an issue that we must sit down and deliberate among ourselves on how best it can be handled. But if it is something that can add value to the developments happening in the constituency, it is a welcome development,” Ganda said.

Citizen Engagement Committee Chairperson Willy Kambwandira agreed with the proposal to tie CDF disbursement to performance.

National Local Government Finance Committee Chairperson Richard Chapweteka said the GESD project, which runs from December 2020 to September 2025, has a total project cost is $100 million of which $70 million is for Performance Based Grants to Local Authorities while $30 million has been allocated to Strengthening Inter Governmental Fiscal Transfer Systems, Local Authority Performance Improvement Support and Adaptive Management & Innovation Support.

Chapweteka said the project objective is to strengthen local authorities’ institutional performance, responsiveness to citizens and management of resources for service delivery and will be achieved through a set of interlocking components that will address governance bottlenecks to basic service delivery at national and local levels.

He said, as at March 31 2023, a total of $34.3 million of the $100 million had been withdrawn from the grant, representing 34 percent disbursement, comprising $20.7 million PBG and $13.6 million for components other than PBG.

Secretary for Local Government James Chiusiwa said it was pleasing to note that in just two-and-a half years of GESD implementation, commendable improvements and achievements have been made.

Chiusiwa said in 2021, 24 councils qualified to access PBG, surpassing the target for that year by 14 councils. This represents 240 percent achievement.

“The only councils that failed to qualify were Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Blantyre and Thyolo. A total of K4.9 billion was disbursed to the 24 qualifying councils which implemented 152 projects.

“Out of these 152 projects, a total of 148 projects had been completed, representing 97.4 percent completion rate. Out of the completed projects, 93 projects were functional, representing 62.8 percent project functionality rate. In 2022, a total of 25 councils qualified to access the PBG cycle two resources, against a target of 15 councils,” Chiusiwa said.

He added that it is encouraging to note that out of the 25 councils that qualified to access the PBG in cycle two, four councils attained unqualified audit status.

The total allocation for PBG cycle 2 was K12.7 billion.

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