Omuthiyagwiipundi — Oshikoto regional councillors have added their voice of concern regarding the delay in gazetting and implementing the Constituency Development Fund Bill.
The Constituency Development Fund Bill was first tabled in the National Council on 18 February 2014 and the house approved it the following day.
Nothing tangible has since come out despite a regional consultation on the Bill to incorporate inputs from the various regions having been carried out.
A Constituency Development Committee is to be established in every region for the purpose of effective coordination of planning and the development of the region at the constituency level. This is also part of the government's decentralisation drive.
Councillors who spoke to New Era vented their frustrations saying their hands are tied, as they are unable to carry out even the simplest project, hence things are delayed due to bureaucracy of the central government.
They have thus demanded that the National Assembly look into the issue as a matter of urgency. "Some of us have nothing really to be proud of since 2015 when we started as councillors because we do not have funds to implement what we planned. In fact it is difficult to plan successfully when you do not have a budget - planning in a vacuum is difficult," stressed the councillor for Onayena, Iyambo Indongo. "Apart from the micro-finance and the settlement development which is underway, there is really nothing implemented in different areas of the constituency, because everything goes through central government; it comes out your projects have not be budgeted for. Our hands are cut, we cant do anything," added Indongo.
Councillor for Omuntele Sacky Nangula echoed similar sentiments, saying "... we plan, budget, recommend and forward what we consider as priority project to regional council, but it turns out it is not when the budget is out. Rather they choose projects in other constituencies of which in our eyes, those are equally important as ours."
Meanwhile, parliamentarian and councillor for Okankolo, Hans Nambodi, when approached on the matter said parliamentarians are blocking the matter, and this in a unitary state.
"The is a push and pull between our leaders in the National Assembly, the house is divided on passing the legislation, because they believe we are a unitary state hence everything should be done centrally. That's why we debate this issue from time to time in our house (National Council) so that the Bill can be passed," briefly stated Nambodi.
Petrus Kambala, councillor for Onyaanya, said they are on a deadlock in implementing their plans, because every time there is no money to carry out such initiatives.