The Finnish government has praised Zambia for implementing the best Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme in Africa.
Finish Ambassador to Zambia Timo Olkkonen said that Zambia’s Social Cash Transfer programme is a success story and a model social protection programme Africa and the world should emulate.
ZANIS reports that Ambassador Olkkonen said this in Lusaka today during the on-going workshop on promoting integrity, transparency and accountability in poverty and vulnerability reduction programmes.
Mr. Olkkonen said the social cash transfer is helping reduce poverty and inequalities amongst the vulnerable and marginalized people in the country.
The Finnish Envoy said there is need for more political will and commitment to ensure that government protects the social protection sector from corruption so that tax payers’ money and donor funds directly benefit the intended beneficiaries.
Mr. Olkkonen said that the negative corruption rating Zambia gets from Transparency International and the Auditor General’s report suggest that there is need to address the perceptions.
He expressed optimism that the workshop will explore risks involved in the scaling up of social protection programmes and provide appropriate interventions and tools to deal with the potential challenges.
Speaking at the same event, Ministry of Community Development Permanent Secretary Howard Sekwila said government remains committed to preventing corruption in social assistance programmes.
Dr. Sekwila said transparency is cardinal in ensuring that social protection programmes reach the intended beneficiaries.
He said his ministry is striving hard to ensure that its social cash transfer scheme and the Food Security Pack programmes reach the intended targets of over 700,000 and 80,000 beneficiaries respectively.
And Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Vice President Stephen Mwansa urged participants to draw lessons from the workshop in order to improve their handling of public resources.
Mr. Mwansa said government is implementing best financial management practices centered on integrity, transparency and accountability in order to address corruption.
The permanent secretary said values of integrity, transparency and accountability have been incorporated in the implementation of the seventh national development plan to reduce poverty and promote national development.
The workshop has drawn participation from line ministries, civil society, academia, United Nations Aid agencies, Development Cooperation partners and embassies accredited to Zambia.
The workshop is being conducted by the Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based in Norway.