By Paul Shalala
Every year each constituency is entitled to a fund: the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which amounts to K1.4 million per constituency.
This fund is allocated to every constituency irrespective of the size, population and developmental level.
The Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has in the last few months conducted a research on the effectiveness of CDF.
In this report ZIPAR has serious recommendations which include the realignment of CDF to be given to constituencies according to their needs.
ZIPAR Research Fellow Gibson Masumbu says the new formula for CDF disbursement will promote equality and development.
This view is shared by Choma Central Member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa whose constituency is one of the poorest in Zambia.
Mr Mweetwa says rural constituencies have been neglected for a long time and there is need for an increment on the CDF allocation for rural constituencies.
But Kabwata Member of Parliament Given Lubinda, whose constituency is the richest, says the current criteria for CDF must continue.
He says government must operationalise the Equalisation Fund in the Decentralisation Policy which can cater for each and every need in the 150 constituencies in Zambia.
But the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) says if ZIPAR's recommendation is to be embraced, underdevelopment will increase in well off constituencies.
LGAZ President Daniel Chisenga says even the well off constituencies have needs and reducing their allocation will worsen things.
But Local Government Minister Emmerine Kabanshi says with the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy, allocation of resources will start from the ward to the national level.
Ms Kabanshi is hopeful that once the decentralisation policy is well implemented, planning for development will start at the basic level and utilisation of national resources will be made easier.
The ZIPAR survey based its findings on population, size, infrastructure and poverty levels in all the 150 constituencies.
Kabwata constituency in Lusaka Province was identified as the richest in Zambia while Sikongo constituency in the Western Province is the poorest.
Among the top 30 richest constituencies are those in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt.