THE good book in Luke 12:48 say “But he who did not know and did things worthy of a beating shall be beaten with few (lashes). For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.”
This is a timely reminder and warning to the local authorities and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) newly constituted committees that the massive increment of the CDF entails greater responsibility for them.
The decentralisation and the desire by the Government to accelerate development driven by the local communities ride on their prudent use of the resources and strict adherence to the guidelines provided.
The New Dawn administration, recognising the need, believes that CDF money can stimulate economic activities at various levels, increased it from K1.6 million to K25.7 million in annual allocations. This has given hope for significant improvements in the respective constituencies and the CDF Committee members carry that burden on behalf of the administration.
That is the reason we agree with the Southern Province deputy permanent secretary Yolanta Mutyambe who has called on the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) to help train civic leaders with basic financial management skills to enable them manage the Fund.
Ms Mutyambe echoed what has been public knowledge for some time now but very important nevertheless that a serious skills and knowledge gap existed as a lot of the people tasked to handle these huge sums of money in the provinces are not conversant with financial regulations.
She noted that some officers in various functions as well as civic leaders in local authorities were not adequately trained accountants hence her call for ZICA to give technical advice to the audit and financial committees in councils to help the Government deliver through the use of CDF.
Like we mentioned, the citizens are expectant and if the resources are not reflected in projects taking off and being completed in constituencies, people will ask questions of the leadership.
Like the Minister of Local Government and Housing Garry Nkombo said during the CDF guidelines launch, the onus is on the local authorities and the civic leadership to show they have the capacity to handle these huge resources at their disposal.
Examples abound of individuals who have misguided themselves and misapplied these funds as they have faced the long arm of the law. Ignorance is no defence as the guidelines have been given.