Posted in Budget Transparency on Feb 19, 2019
The report of Joint Public Accounts Committee (JPAC) on the Union Auditor-General Office’s findings about Constituency Development Fund for 2017-2018 fiscal year was released on 6 February. Constituency Development Fund allocated 100 million MMK for each township and the fund is managed by the township’s MPs. For 2017-18 FY, 32,200 million MMKMMK for 322 townships in 14 states and segions, and for Nay Pyi Taw Council area (so-called “Union Territory”), 800 million MMKMMK and hence, in total of 33,000 million MMK is approved for the Constituency Development Fund. 500 million MMKMMK from five townships namely Mongla, Mongmao, Pangwaun, Panghsang and Nar-hpan which do not have any MP (due to the inability to hold an election in those townships), and the remaining 0.002 million MMK (two thousand MMK) since the request money from Kyangin Township is just 99.998 million, are returned to the government revenue.
The report details spendings of each township. The composition of CDF projects is a mix of drinking water and water supply, repairing and construction of rural roads/bridges and others. Others represent education, health and electrification sectors.
These are the main items mentioned in the report. Among these data, there are details about state and region governments’ projects and value of these projects. You can also read the comments of Regional Auditors-General, where they state wastes of resources and inefficiency in implementation of these projects and the project team do not follow some of the rules and procedures, raisingmore questions.
The difference between proposed projects and actual projects
It is described in the report that there are differences between the proposed projects under the fund and actual projects implemented on the ground . And there are many projects which are damaged by natural disasters as well.
Who can manage the Union Development Fund?
According to Section 5, Article 8 (a) of Constituency Development Fund Law, township development implementation committee shall be composed of a chairman, members and a secretariat while any one of the MPs represented in that township will be a chairman. Members of the committee shall be composed of other remaining MPs, Executive Officer or Township Administrator (Development Committee), Township Officer (Department of Rural Development), and chairman of Township Development Support Committee. It is also stated that Township Administrator shall take the role as the Committee Secretariat. Additionally, in Article 8 (b) mentions, if necessary, Vice-chairman and Joint Secretariat can be appointed from the members.
The CDF intends to improve the socio-economic conditions of people, therefore, it is the duty of Hluttaw representatives in their respective townships to find out what are the needs of the people and to fulfill them.
Why people need to understand about the Constituency Development Fund
There are two reasons why people should understand about the fund. One is to assess the process related to the Fund and second is to know who is doing which projects in the township. When assessing the spending of the Fund, people should consider whether the projects are effective or not, whether the projects are really implemented in your area, or whether they followed the procedures while implementing these projects. People also should judge whether the MPs who are critical in prioritizing development projects have bias and whether there is serious pork barrel politics. These fundings will be more beneficial for people only when there is a strong public oversight for these things.
To promote the citizens participation
More importantly, we need to promote the citizen participation in choosing the project funded by CDF. Since people know best what their needs are, should Township Development Implementation Committee accept the proposals from people, evaluate them, prioritize some of their proposals and implement them, it will be more effective use of the fund. To reach that point, there should be rules and procedures to encourage public participation and integrated them in the respective legislations. Only then, the purpose of the Constituency Development Fund will be successful and create better public oversight.
By Aung Tun Lin
- Review and comment report on the Union Auditor General office’s report about the spending condition of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Development Fund for 2017-18 fiscal year (3/2019)
- Public Accounts Committee, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw – Development Fund Law for Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, 2014
You can download the full report of Public Accounts Committee, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw here.