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Budget planning process hasn’t been comprehensive – Chikwanda

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Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda has noted that over the years, the planning and budgeting processes in  Zambia have lacked a comprehensive and well articulated guide.

Mr. Chikwanda said this has resulted in fragmentation of the key facets of planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

He made these remarks Thursday evening when he officially launched the  consultative process on the planning and budgeting policy on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television.

The consultative process will culminate into the development of the planning and budgeting bill.

Mr. Chikwanda indicated that the policy and ensuing Act will make provisions that will firmly anchor national development plans as benchmark documents to transform national budgets to an extent that they become tools for operationalising national development plans.

He explained that as a result of this development, the resources will be allocated and appropriated in line with projects and programmes contained in national development plans as a matter of priority.

The Minister added that the draft policy also spells out mechanisms for ensuring that programmes and projects were thoroughly assessed through a comprehensive appraisal system and effectively monitored so as to yield the intended results.

He said the draft policy will also enhance transparency, accountability and provide a basis for evidence based decision making process.

Mr. Chikwanda stated that the policy further stipulates the roles, responsibilities and procedures required in developing national plans and how they will be financed and interfaced with annual budgets and Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs) and other policies and operational tools.

Furthermore, the Finance Minister said the draft policy provides for more enhanced system of engagement with the people and streamlines their participation mechanisms at all levels including the grassroots. He said this was so because the Patriotic Front (PF) government desired to ensure that national plans and programmes were rooted in people’s aspirations.

Mr. Chikwanda has therefore called on the members of the public to read and digest the contents of the draft planning and budgeting policy with a view to provide suggestions on how it can appropriately be refined.

He said his ministry, through the national planning department and budget office will be at hand to articulate issues to the citizenry that are contained therein.

Mr. Chikwanda has also called on provincial administrations to carry out provincial consultations through the provincial development committees to elicit as broadly as possible comments from various stakeholders.

The Minister further implored all stakeholders to be open- minded and candid in their submissions so that the document is enriched.

ZANIS

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