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Zambia launches $30m public finance reform programme

By Judith Ugwumadu | 20 August 2014

The Zambian government has officially launched its $30m multi-donor public financial management reform programme to improve the efficiency and accountability of public resources. 

The programme is backed by a three-year grant from the governments of Finland, Germany, UK as well as the World Bank.

Fredson Yamba, Zambia’s secretary to the Treasury, said yesterday that the key role of the PFM reform programme was to alleviate poverty and deliver reliable government health and education services, roads and electricity to the country’s 14.8 million people.

He said there was a need for quick implementation of the financial reforms and reassured the donors that the funds would not be misused.

‘In order to operationalise this strategy, the government developed the [PFM reform] programme with the support of cooperating partners who together committed $30m to the first phase of this programme,’ he said.

Phase one of the programme will run to the end of December 2017 and will be managed by experts from the World Bank. Details of the subsequent phases were not made available.

Zambia’s finance minister Alex Chiwanda added that the success of the programme depended on hard work and commitment from all involved.  ‘It is imperative that we leave a good legacy for the future generations.’

Felix Nkulukusa, permanent secretary at Zambia’s Ministry of Finance, said: ‘Successful implementation would offer modern and updated solutions to some of the challenges being faced in the management of public resources.

‘These challenges include the misuse of public resources, low levels of value for money, funding shortfalls despite idle balances in commercial banks and variation of funds away from what was approved by Parliament.’

World Bank Zambia regional director Kundhavi Kadiresan said the PFM reform programme was a major landmark for Zambia in promoting fiscal discipline and transparency. It is hoped that the programme would boost the legal basis for robust PFMR arrangements through the support of workshops for the development of a new planning and budget law, she said.

She added that this would strengthen the linkage of budgetary allocation with policy objectives of the government.

Frank Hofmann of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development said: ‘A solid public financial management is of paramount importance to secure the efficient, effective and accountable se of public resources to support the fight against poverty in Zambia.’

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