‘2014 budget should harmonise all policies’

Government complex Lusaka

THE Government should harmonise all economic policy documents with unified objectives which should be reflected in the 2014 National Budget to bring economic benefits to all sectors, the Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has said.
PMRC executive director Michelle Morel said for the national budget to benefit various economic sector groups, there was need to harmonise various Government policy documents.
“The country’s development strategy is undefined, due to use of multiple documents guiding its economic policy direction. As PMRC we think the use of these unaligned documents has caused conflicting policy pronouncements and ministerial disharmony,” Ms Morel said.
In an interview in Lusaka, Ms Morel said policy documents like the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP), Vision 2030, the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ministerial documents needed to be harmonised for the national budget to deliver.
She said PMRC has recommended for Harmonised Development Framework (HDF), a single framework for the country which contained common objectives as the only way Government would deliver the set economic benefits.
Ms Morel said her organisation looked forward to a situation where each national budget had clearly stipulated major goals and objectives so that the private sector were certain about the major focus of the document.
She said that would enable the private sector to plan what products and services to trade in, which would be needed.
“Let’s say, in a particular year, the Government is focusing on supporting solar energy and other energies the private sector can position itself to engage in the business,” she said.
Ms Morel said the implementation of HDF would lead to harmonised budget objectives, prioritised projects and programmes as well as aligned and accurate key indicators, concise implementation plans and delivery time frame.
She said the use of multiple policy guiding documents has resulted in inefficient use of development resources and ineffective implementation of economic development projects.