By KAIKO NAMUSA -
Parliament yesterday heard that Government would consider increasing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocation to rural-based constituencies.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda told Parliament he was concerned that rural-based constituencies were receiving the same amount as those based in urban locations.
Mr Chikwanda said Cabinet would seek the guidance of parliamentary committee on the matter to enhance an all-inclusive governance approach.
“Allocating CDF equally to all constituencies is not fair, as rural constituencies face serious challenges compared to urban-based constituencies. We hope the relevant parliamentary committee will guide us on this issue and how we can go about it to ensure there is fair distribution of resources,” Mr Chikanda said in response to a concern raised by Chadiza MMD MP, Allan Mbewe.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mkhondo Lungu also advised MPs not to be derailed by comments from members of the public on calls for their increased emoluments.
Mr Lungu said this when he made a ruling on a point of order raised by MMD Mafinga MP Catherine Namugala who expressed concern over reactions from the public indicating outrage on the issue of increasing emoluments for MPs.
“Don’t get derailed by comments coming from outside, I have also heard them but if you concentrate on them, we will not function as a House,” Mr Lungu said. “We know the challenges we face in the constituencies and so we should not be deterred by attacks.”
Meanwhile, Parliament has adjourned sine die with acting leader of Government business Edgar Lungu assuring the House that the Government remained focused on delivering a people-driven Constitution.
Mr Lungu told the House yesterday that the Government was not taking Zambians for granted in enacting the constitution but that it would ensure Zambian values were reflected in the Constitution and was on the lookout for foreign values that were obnoxious to local ones.
Mr Lungu said the roadmap to enacting the new Constitution was awaiting guidance from the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s office on the financial requirements for the process.
“Government is aware that Zambians have resolved to have a new Constitution and as Government we want to meet these aspirations.
“We haven’t shifted goal posts on this matter and the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General will provide direction on this matter and later on the Treasury will inform us how much the process will cost,” Mr Lungu said.
Mr Lungu, who is Defence Minister, said this in Parliament when he issued a ministerial statement on the process of enacting the Constitution following a point of order by UPND Mazabuka Member of Parliament, Garry Nkombo who requested an update on the matter.
“The Government is committed to taking the Constitution-making process forward. Once all the necessary consultations have been concluded in Cabinet, I wish to reiterate that the legal framework regarding the Constitution is very clear and will be followed,” he said.
Parliament would resume sittings in September ahead of the presentation of the 2015 national Budget.