MPs who have not collected their share of the $4 million meant for developing constituencies say they have not done so because they have been bogged down by the constitution-making process.
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga last week said the money was lying idle and would be returned to Treasury if not collected by December 31.
Only two MPs, Heya Shoko of Bikita West and Shuah Mudiwa of Mutare West, have claimed their share.
The fund was announced by Finance minister Tendai Biti last November.
MPs this week said Copac business had kept them so busy they did not find time to discuss development projects with their constituents and therefore were unable to apply and collect money from the fund.
Others said they were unaware the money had been made available and blamed their ignorance on lack of communication.
Siyabonga Ncube, MP for Insiza and a member of the MDC-M, said he had only learnt of the availability of the funds through the press.
“As MPs, we are in serious need of the funds because of the impact the money will have on our people,” Ncube said.
“It is unfortunate that the minister (Matinenga) gives an impression that MPs are unwilling to apply and collect money for the development of their constituencies.”
Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese of MDC-T said when Biti announced the establishment of the fund last November there was no money for immediate disbursement.
Gonese said it should be noted that lawmakers were not in a position to apply for the funds on their own but needed to consult other key stakeholders, including councillors and residents’ associations.
Mwenezi East MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti of Zanu PF said there was no way the funds could be returned to Treasury because the communities needed that assistance critically.
“The funds were made available at a time when most MPs got engaged in the constitution-making process. We have not had time to go and consult our constituencies,” Bhasikiti said.
“What the minister can do is to deposit money into constituency accounts, from which they should be able to audit how the finances were used.”