THE Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) congratulates Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe over her appoint as Finance Minister. This appointment provides an opportunity for women to showcase their unique leadership that should propel the country to greater heights.
NGOCC recognizes the challenging role that comes with this key portfolio in government especially at this point in time when the country’s economic fundamentals require magnanimity and foresight. This is also a time when the country’s cost of living remains too high and way above the reach of most households. It is our hope that Hon. Mwanakatwe will champion policies that will aim at mitigating this high cost of living and consequently reduce poverty levels which have continued to carry the female face in Zambia. We have no doubt in Hon. Mwanakatwe’s capacity to rise to the occasion and address the many economic challenges that beset the country.
NGOCC is also mindful of the country’s struggle with the unsustainable external debt stock which stands at US$7.9 billion according to the Ministry of Finance information. It is our expectation that Hon. Mwanakatwe will facilitate the long awaited implementation of the Debt Management Strategy so as to free more resources towards improving social service delivery.
As the focal point of the women’s movement, NGOCC remains deeply concerned with the high levels of public resource mismanagement as evidenced by the revelations in the Annual Auditor General’s Reports. We hope therefore that the new Finance Minister will continue with the Public Finance Management Reforms in order to stop the leakages of public resources.
In this regard we look forward to Hon. Mwanakatwe presenting the new Public Finance Management Bill in Parliament as a priority intervention towards safeguarding public funds. It is our hope that the Bill will provide stringent punitive measures against civil servants that abuse and blatantly steal public resources which would go a long way in addressing the drug shortages in hospitals, provision of quality education, especially for the girl child in rural areas who is ending up in early and child marriages.
Engwase B. Mwale