By Patrick Kisembo, Dodoma
The Policy Forum has said that the concept of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which is intended to empower people at the grassroot level financially is a high risk for the government to undertake at the moment.
Members of various non-governmental organisations raised the concern in Dodoma yesterday during a debate that discussed the establishment of the fund.
The Forum coordinator, Getrude Mugizi, said it was risky for the government to undertake and rely on the fund, adding that experiences indicated that presence of poor quality services delivered at the local level was generally the norm.
"The problem is not lack of funding at the local levels, but had more to do with systemic weakness, poor capacity, political interference and low civic competence that could be even worse after the set up of this fund," she said.
She said the establishment of CDF was likely to render the situation in the local government rather worse than better.
The forum recommended that systemic challenges compromising the efficient and proper implementation of the revolved funds would be contended with rather than be recreated.
The former Same councillor Taube Said said there was no need for the government to set up the fund as it was not needed by the public at this particular time.
"CDF is not needed at this particular time. It is not what can develop the people at the grassroots level. We need Members of Parliament to go to their constituencies and sit with their people to find another way of developing their areas," she said.
Clarifying on the fund, the Member of the Parliamentary Leadership Committee and Parliamentary Commission, Job Ndugai (Kongwa, CCM) said the fund would assist MPs to speed up development of their constituencies.
Deputy Chairman for the committee, John Cheyo (Bariadi East, UDP) said the fund was important in that it would compel the government to provide for development funds to people at the grassroots level.
He said there was a need for the nation to stop depending on donor funding and that CDF was an alternative way.
"We have TASAF, government capital development grants and that of the local government, all these are donor based funds. We need to have our own fund so that donors should not dictate their terms on us," he said.
However, the Policy Forum urged Parliament not to legislate the CDF until there had been much greater awareness and wider stakeholders` debate about its implications.
* SOURCE: Guardian