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Govt fails to release SSP49b constituencies fund as budget expires: MP

Author: Emmanuel J. Akile | Published: Friday, June 28, 2024

Lawmaker Lomude Peter speaks on Eye Radio's Dawn Show. June 28 2024. (Photo: Awan Moses/Eye Radio).

A lawmaker said the ministry of finance and planning did not release the 49 billion South Sudanese pounds Constituencies Development Fund approved in the 2023/2024 financial year budget.

Lomude Peter Francis, the head of Standing Specialized Committee on Constituencies Development Fund in the national parliament, noted that the parliament allocated a 47,882,133,754 South Sudanese pounds in the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

But Lomude said the funding allocated to constituencies development was never disbursed as the budget expires on June 30, 2024.

“We want to see that the ministry of finance and planning adhere to the 3 percent so that the CDF is not being the 47 billion pounds like what happened last year,” he told Eye Radio’s Dawn Show on Friday.

Lawmaker Lomude also said his committee is working to amend the CDF Act to make it independent from the finance ministry.

He added they are also working to ensure that the national government adhere to the budget allocations through implementation.

“They have to ensure they calculate based on the CDF law. Number two, we are working to ensure that we amend the CDF Act because it requires that we get approval from the Ministry of Finance. It is the law that has got financial implication.”

“We want to ensure also that the government should adhere, we should not only have budget that is in papers, we want a budget that is budgeted for and released so that the impact is visible within the grassroots or in the constituencies.”

The CDF program was adopted by the former Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly in 2007 to directly boost rural development, but the constitutional obligation was suspended following the 2013 conflict for unknown reasons.

Meanwhile, Ter Manyang who is the Executive Director, Center for Peace and Advocacy criticized the past mismanagement of the CDF fund.

Manyang called on lawmakers and government officials to tame their appetite for public funds and encouraged the citizens to hold their MPs accountable in the upcoming budget.

“If there is money, since 2005, we want to know, is the money ending up with the MPs or they do the consultation with the communities?”

“There is a question of accountability because some MPs are thinking that, this money is their when it is released by the government.”

“No, this money is for the communities, for instance if you receive that money, you need to make consultations with your citizens within your county, with the youth and the intellectuals on how this money should be used. But there are few MPs who decide in Juba, they just go.”

Mr. Manyang further called on the civil society to carry out a civic education to create awareness on the rights and privileges of citizens.

“Our citizens don’t know their right by the way. That’s why there is a lot of manipulation from the MPs, even they don’t have a question to ask the MPs, they need to know their right they need to question the MPs.”

In March 2024, President Salva Kiir directed the former Minister of Finance and Planning to pay the withheld ten-year Constituency Development Fund arrears to national lawmakers.

He tasked Minister Dier Tong Ngor to disburse the accrued money for the past ten years to enable MPs to fund projects in their respective constituencies.

However, President Kiir warned the MPs against misusing the Constituency Development Funds saying some MPs had previously pocketed the funding.

According to the CDF policy, 85 percent of the total allocation to each constituency are directed for projects while just 10 percent goes towards administrative costs.

 

 

 

 

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