GOVERNMENT has revised the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) to now focus on inclusive growth, rural development and job creation.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said the Patriotic Front’s (PF) development agenda to revise and reflect on the SNDP policy focus was to enable Government align the national development planning process to the political cycle and allow the ruling party translate its manifesto into national development programmes.
“Government has chosen the theme, People Centred Development, for the revised SNDP. This theme comes from the realisation that economic growth alone does not inherently contribute to improvements in human development and poverty reduction,” Mr Chikwanda said.
Speaking at the National Stakeholders Meeting on the revised National Development Plan 2013-2016, he said Government was proposing measures to direct development towards job creation, reducing rural urban divide by ensuring that development goods and services were equitably distributed.
He said Government would give prominence to investing in capital projects and programmes in agriculture, accelerate infrastructure development and promote development in the energy sector.
Government would also invest significantly in human resource development focusing on education and skills development, provision of quality health services and improve water and sanitation systems.
He said Government would in the plan period address bottlenecks that invariably inhibited smooth implementation of plans.
He said these would include accelerating implementation of the decentralisation policy, putting in place an integrated planning and budgeting framework and undertaking reforms on public finance management and speedily implementing Government programmes, among other things.
“While every sector desires to be given primacy in the plan, Government can only implement fewer programmes at any one time given the limited resource envelope and the timeframe within which the plan can be implemented,” Mr Chikwanda said.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said it was cardinal to have a structured planning system where activities could be undertaken timely and effectively contrary to the current development planning and budgeting processes that were not guided by documented procedures.
He said Government had developed a draft integrated planning and budgeting policy that would facilitate the enactment of the Planning and Budgeting Bill that would give legal backing to planning processes saying this would strengthen the link between budgets and national development plans.
Mr Yamba assured that programmes and projects in the revised SNDP were subjected to project appraisal and evaluation to ascertain their worthiness in terms of economic and social returns.