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MBABANE – Government continues with its bid to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of the people through the Regional Development Fund (RDF).

Funding for the sector has shot up to E177 million.  This is reflected in the 2020/21 Budget Speech tabled by Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg in Parliament yesterday.

This is an increment of E67 million as compared to the 2019/2020 financial year. In total this is equivalent to E3 million per constituency. There are 59 constituencies in the country.

 “The allocation for the Regional Development Fund (RDF) has increased from E110 million to E177 million. This is to ensure that there is equitable development for the different Tinkhundla,” said the minister.
In reaction to the revised figures, one of the seasoned Members of Parliament, Mabulala Maseko, from Maphalaleni, felt it was just what the doctor ordered following a backlog of projects at their respective constituencies.


“It will make the difference, especially when it is released on time. We urge the minister to release it at once instead of quarterly. Costs of projects end up shooting up when they are paid in instalments,” said the legislator.
The MP said most of the lined up projects at Maphalaleni had to do with electrification.

They are headlined by a planned electricity scheme that can benefit both the Maphalaleni and Nkhaba constituencies at a cost of E1.4 million. “Yes we had expected more but we accept this increase,” he said.
Minister of Tinkhundla Administration and Development David ‘Cruiser’ Ngcamphalala celebrated what he termed a remarkable increase, thanking Their Majesties for coming up with the fund.

“It is now up to the MPs to go their respective chiefdoms to work with the people in pursuit for development. Delays in releasing funds in the past were caused by cash flow and logistical challenges. We’re hoping it will now be a thing of the past,” said the minister.

The minister, on the other hand, said building two Tinkhundla centres in the current financial year was in the pipeline. The structures will belong to Nkilongo and Mtsambama constituencies. The latter’s old structure collapsed. Nkilongo was renting a structure.

Meanwhile, the RDF is popular with the rural folk following developmental projects undertaken over the years. In 2015/16, government had provided E80 million to the fund, which was utilised to deliver rural electrification projects in various communities.
In 2016/17, the allocation was incre- ased to E88 million. The current allocation is the biggest over the years.

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