Chikwanda acts to end State funds misuse

Alexander Chikwanda -

ACTING President Alexander Chikwanda has launched a two-year Public Financial Management (PFM) Reform Strategy aimed at minimising the misuse of tax-payers money.
The PFM is expected to cost up to US$78 million, according to Mr Chikwanda, who was speaking during the launch in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Chikwanda, who is Minister of Finance, said Government has demonstrated political will to reduce the misuse of public funds thus far and that it deserves credit for the effort.
“I urge the implementing institutions to fully apply themselves so that the component activities of the strategy can be completed within the specified timeframe,” Mr Chikwanda said.
The new strategy takes over from the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Programme, which ended in December 2012.
Mr Chikwanda said the Public Financial Management Reform Strategy 2013 to 2015 has 10 reform areas.
The areas include integrated planning and budgeting aimed at improving development planning and budgeting process to enhance the impact of public service delivery.
“It also includes debt management, Government investment aimed at effectively managing investment in state-owned enterprises, domestic revenue and fiscal decentralisation,” Mr Chikwanda said.
The minister said the reform strategy will also strengthen the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA)’s oversight and regulatory role in public procurement.
He said the reform strategy will restructure the Ministry of Finance to ensure an efficient work process and service delivery in line with the ministry’s mandate and strategic objectives.
“What we expect such a reform strategy to do is to help us minimise mismanagement of scarce resources,” he said.
He said there is urgent need to operationalise the concept of value for money and to enhance accountability and transparency.
Zambia is now considered a lower-middle income country which is expected to depend on the market for development financing, he said.
“Given this fact, it is imperative that macroeconomic management and public financial management are strengthened,” he said.
He said the fact that the strategy was developed by Government clearly indicates that the implementation can equally be led by Government.
“The subject of prudent use of public resources and financial management is an important policy initiative of the government,” Mr Chikwanda said.
He said this is because Government is fully aware that for the socio-economic development programme to succeed there should be a sound public financial management system.
The development of the Public Financial Management Reform Strategy commenced in 2011 to strengthen some facets of the PFM.