The National Development Coordinating Committee (NDCC) has recommended that the Government should focus more on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to ameliorate the funding problem, and work closely with the private sector and development cooperating partners, among other remedial measures in the face of the negative impact of COVID-19.
The National Development Coordinating Committee (NDCC), in its resolutions at the conclusion of the recently held virtual meeting, noted the challenges the country was facing and came up with various solutions.
“The Acting Chair of the NDCC, Minister of Finance, Dr. Bwalya Ngandu, MP, indicated that we are living in unprecedented times, with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the country through health shocks, domestic economic restrictions and lockdowns, revenue losses, increased spending, reduced exports, capital flow reversals and lower commodity prices,” the NDCC recommended. “Given the unfavourable short- to medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal outlook, Ministries, Provinces and Spending. Agencies (MPSAs) are likely to face more funding challenges, especially across non-constitutional and statutory budgetary lines.”
The Committee noted that the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are consequently going to be affected, with funding to most programmes having drastically reduced.
“The Mid-term Review has recommended that government should focus more on Public Private Partnerships to ameliorate the funding problem. The Ministry of Finance to heighten the processes relating to the operationalization of the Public Private Partnerships as one of the financing modalities; All MPSAs to devise innovative ways of achieving more with less,” the NDCC recommended. As part of the effort to contribute to economic recovery and sustainable growth, the Ministries of Finance, National Development Planning and Commerce, Trade and Industry should work with the African Development Bank to identify areas which can enhance private sector participation; while the government is implementing measures to improve the business environment, it is necessary for private sector to step up and take up a more active role in the economic affairs of the country.”
The NDCC further recommended that the private sector should be encouraged and supported to be more aggressive and take advantage of cheaper sources of financing which are offered or leveraged by multilateral institutions such as the African Development Bank, as opposed to more expensive private sources.
The NDCC noted that it was also undeniable that implementing all 7NDP priorities in 2021 under the prevailing fiscal landscape was a huge challenge.
The Committee recalled its approval of the proposal by the Ministry of National Development Planning to rescope the Implementation Plan of the 7NDP to focus our attention on safeguarding key priorities to cushion the impact of slow growth and COVID-19 pandemic on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“The way forward is that the Ministry of National Development Planning, working with all Cluster Advisory Groups and MPSAs, should finalise the rescoping exercise through a consultative process in readiness for the 2021 Budget. The Ministry of Finance should provide Cluster Ceilings in earnest to assist the CAGs finalise the budget estimates for 2021,” the NDCC recommended.
On the COVID-19 pandemic in Zambia, the NDCC resolutions noted that the Ministry of Health had reported to the meeting the changes in the epidemiology of COVID-19 infections in the recent past, with increases in the number of positive cases, generalised outbreak with increased geographical spread, increased severity of illness among positive cases and increasing risk of dying.
The Committee noted, based on the report from the Ministry of Health, that Zambia was likely to have more COVID-19 cases and deaths on account of high levels of non-compliance to public health and social measures.
“Way forward is that the Ministry of Health in consultation with Ministries of Finance, and Transport and Communications, Commerce, Trade and Industry should heighten COVID-19 interventions by mobilising resources to support response, ramp up screening at all border points and designate specific places for cross-border tracks to park to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the NDCC stated. “All MPSAs should take it upon themselves to start distributing sensitization messages/materials on the impact of COVID 19 to support Ministry of Health.”
The Committee noted that the Government had received tremendous support from our cooperating partners over the years, and more recently during this difficult time of tremendous economic challenges caused by external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
The Committee stated that the Government will continue to collaborate with the Cooperating Partners and civil society organizations in many areas, including in areas which they have traditionally supported and in emerging ones such as the COVID-19 response and climate change.
On 2021 electoral preparation, the NDCC noted that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) had committed to conduct voter registration up to November, which will be in the rainy season and that it will incorporate COVID-19 management content in the electoral process. The Committee noted that this would include introduction of the Online Pre-Registration Service to reduce the interaction between the applicant and the registration officer.
“The Electoral Commission of Zambia should ensure that logistics are in place to reach the remotest parts of the country before the rainy season starts. ECZ should ensure all requisite materials are in the country in good time, in view of the widespread and global lockdowns and restrictions which have affected movements of goods and persons,” the NDCC recommended
This is according to a media statement issued by Ministry of National Development Planning spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba.