Zambia Council for Social Development Executive Director Lewis Mwape has called for a scrutiny of the Public Finance Management Bill to ensure that government does not overspend on administrative costs such as car maintenance and related transport costs.
Last week, Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati revealed that government spends about K2bn on servicing vehicles and other related costs per year.
But Mwape said Zambia was too poor to be spending such amounts of money on costs that could be done away with.
“I think what we must deal with is Public Finance Management laws. I think we have an opportunity now since it has been tabled in Parliament. So what we need to ensure in that act is that there must be very strong [regulations] provided by law so that such kind of expenditures must not be entertained in a country that is poor, In a country that is struggling to uplift the living conditions for the ordinary Zambians,” he said.
“There is so much money that is being spent in the administration costs which we must begin to avoid because at the end of it all we are strangulating the resources that are supposed to go to service delivery in the health sector, in the education sector, and all these social sectors such as the social cash transfer and the e-voucher. If that money is spent on uplifting the living conditions of people, that would bring a very positive impact in the lives of the poor Zambians. But I think for me what is more important is that lets put the laws in place, already we have the Public Finance management bill before parliament, I think we need Parliamentarians to debate this issue very well.”
Mwape also stressed the need for wide consultations before tabling bills in parliament.
“And I think for me what I regret is the laws and the bills that we are having, in that there is poor consultation. May I also take this opportunity to [commend] Honourable Jean Kapata, for the time that she has spent in ensuring that the land policy is well consulted. If we have people that are doing that, it opens an opportunity for key stakeholders like the traditional leaders, our chiefs to reject it. But if there was no consultation, there is no opportunity that is given to the people to reject those wrong provisions that are being given. So I think the Ministry of Finance did not do a good job in terms of consultations,” said Mwape.