Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme says the Zambian delegation to the 2018 Spring Meetings held fruitful meetings with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), focusing on the country’s development.

According to a statement issued by ministry spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba, Wednesday, Chiteme was speaking when he featured on a live Voice of America (VOA) programme, Nightline Africa, with host Peter Clottey and producer Shaka Ssali on the sidelines of the 2018 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings.

“We had very fruitful meetings with the IMF and world Bank; as the country we are open to discuss frankly with both the Fund and the Bank,” Chiteme said.

“We are very optimistic on the projects we are doing with the World Bank.”

The interview focused on Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and Zambia’s participation at the on-going 2018 IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, USA.

Chiteme said Spring Meetings were taking place at the right time when the World Bank was developing the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) with Zambia.

“We have had and continue to have open and frank engagements with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on how they can help us unlock our development agenda in line with our Seventh National Development Plan,” Chiteme said.

“The Spring Meetings have given us opportunities to create synergies between the Seventh National Development Plan and the Country Partnership Framework of the World Bank. Our engagements are important to our continued close collaboration with the World Bank as we implement the Seventh National Development Plan.”

He said financing for the 7NDP would be through domestic resource mobilization and international financing mechanisms.

“In this regard, the Government has put in place measures to enhance domestic resource mobilization by tracking the mineral industry, and the entire extractive sector on how they are accounting for tax their obligations,” he said.

“Further, the Government of Zambia has set up various institutions which will facilitate accountability on the Seventh National Development Plan at National Level, Provincial Level, and District Level; and these are required to account for their outcomes.”

He said the just-launched Seventh National Development Plan (implementation plan Volume Two) sets out targets to be reached by various government sectors.

He said the Ministry of National Development Planning would closely monitor and evaluate the implementation of the 7NDP to ensure that it was fully realised in line with the set targets.

In response to the commendation by the presenter that the Seventh National Development Plan is a well-articulated document, the Minister said that Government of Zambia was mindful that having a well-articulated Plan was just part of the equation but to implement and realise the set outcomes is a much bigger battle the focus now is to ensure that the set goals are achieved.

Chiteme expressed concern that Zambia’s absorption of the donor funded projects, particularly the World Bank’s was lower than expected. “It’s my commitment that during my tenure as Minister of National Development Planning the portfolio performance moves to levels that are satisfactory and this will not only be in the interest of the World Bank but in our interest as the country because it is our desire to accelerate our national development agenda,” said Chiteme.

“We intend to re-model the institutional framework for implementing the projects which are financed by the World Bank by creating separate dedicated Project Implementation Units (PIUs) whose sole responsibility will be to provide leadership in implementation of projects.”

The World Bank portfolio is about US$1.3 billion.