ANALYSIS OF CDF EXPENDITURE & BURNING RATE
I wish congratulate the council that have done extremely well in spending funds on CDF from January 2022 to November 2023 .And I would like to add a voice on the subject and share my thoughts on what is affecting burning rate in project implementation in the case of Constituency Development Funds . (Note that this is a personal opinion and it may apply to all constituencies )
1. Projects of Construction nature awarded to new local contractors drag in their implementation due to inexperience by local contractors . We have heard of contractors who have abandoned sites & projects re-advertised,this is affecting the burning rate . Others struggle to kick off or implement project within the timeframe because they lack sufficient upfront capital for mobilization . Another reason is that there are constituencies that dedicated their entire CDF for 2022 towards the procurement of machinery- that would entail a one day payment and it moves the burning rate automatically to above 50% while it’s understandable that others that would have invested in construction of schools and clinics would still be dragging depending on context and needs of the district .
2. Low absorption in Skills & Secondary Bursaries – districts without skills centers & secondary schools have low absorption levels – most youths are not willing to go and access school outside their district because they are bread winners or have families to look after . For secondary schools it’s the same – There is need for all districts to have skills centers and secondary school to achieve the intention of provide access education especially to rural children.
3. Poor Project implementation skills by Councils ( Accounts / Social planners / Engineers – a well trained project management team will effectively coordinate will undertake burn rate review on a monthly basis and propose possible movements of funds to other needy areas (We are happy that the ministry has been flexible in approving such variation and without delay ) Part of this variation is as a result of balances from engineer estimated costs vs awarded costs because most local contractor they underestimate their bids to win contracts ultimately affecting their profit margin. Leaving councils with funds .
4. Geographical Position of some constituencies- Some constituencies such as itezhi tezhi , Nalikwanda , Nalolo ,Chiyengi etc get cut off for over 6 months due to floods and projects stall. This delays implementation and funds sit in the account for over 7 months .
5. Constituencies with more than one constituency with a lean structure of members of staff in councils would not move processes faster .And most councils have lost key staffs ( maybe that is why the Commision has advertised for jobs ) Most councils operate under stress – So it means 22 councils had no building inspectors ,12 Councils no deputy Director of works , 44 council no quality surveyors , 14 council no land surveyors , 19 councils no procurement officers and 35 council without social planners . These are key positions in projects implementation .
6. Burning rate is not measured by actual spend / it includes committed funds . So projects that are running with already signed contracts and payments partially made are regarded as spent . The sum total should be regarded as committed spent money .
GENERAL OBSERVATION –
1.It is now clear that the UPND government is equitably distributing resources to all constituencies across the country – this is recommendable as it demonstrates that the entire country is now a construction site for different essential services .
2.Even some MPs who on the floor of the house claim that that CDF is a hoax have received the funds in full and goverment is delivering development in their constituencies – so they should stop contradicting themselves and focus on achieving 100% burning rate
3. In order for MPs , Mayors , Chairperson & DCs to effectively provide oversight in project implementation, there is need to enhance capacities & skills in project management (project planning , project circle , effective project monitoring with clear indicators , effective evaluation )
3.The Ministry of Local Government should CONTINUE sharing this analysis and it should be part of the performance appraisal for the Council Management teams who are the implementing managers of the day to day implementation of CDF. This will also ensure that Members of Parliament take centre stage in providing their oversight role to councils and a more clearer and elaborate accountability performance metric should also be devised .
Hon Twaambo Mutinta
MP Itezhi Tezhi