Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska has asked cooperating partners to help Zambia create a solid 2019 budget plan.

And Dr Msiska says anyone who thinks they can predict contingencies in a budget are either lying or mad.

Speaking during the official openning of the National Development Coordinating Committee (NDCC) workshop at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Tuesday, Dr Msiska said Zambia did not have all the answers needed to address challenges associated with budget planning.

“We appreciate as government that we do not have all the answers to all the challenges that we have faced. So, we have the view that it is important sometimes to allow outsiders, that is outside government, to share their ideas on how they think we could be able to achieve what we intend to achieve. But that should be done in advance so that you are included in the program to present and share those particular ideas. It is our view that doing this we will enable us to enrich ourselves and make it possible for us to learn one from another. I think with that kind of arrangement as you shall see, we should be able to deal with some of the challenges that face. As Zambia aspires to be a middle-income nation by 2030, it is with this aspiration in mind that the 7th National Development plan was developed to guide Zambia’s development agenda for the period 2017 to 2021,” Dr Msiska said.

“The implementation of the plan is operationalized through the national budget and it is therefore important that we meet using this National Development Coordinating Committee as a platform for dialogue for budget hearing to ensure that what id budgeted for is closely linked to the development agenda of the country as espoused in the 7th National Development plan.”

He stressed the need to plan for an inclusive budget that would encompass the vulnerable in society.

“Further, meeting in is manner gives us an opportunity as key stakeholders to have an input into the national budget prior to cabinet considerations. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that when you set up to do a plan, if you say you are able to have predicted all the contingencies, it is either you have been lying or you are mad. So, this also gives us an opportunity to re-look at some of the assumptions that we made at the start of the planning period. A budget is not cast in concrete, it is important that we constantly examine the valuables around ourselves to see how we can sort them out. Since the last NDCC meeting which was held on the 10 February 2018, where approval of the contents and format of the implementation of the 7th National plan was granted, the document was finalized and released to the public by the minister of National development planning, Alexander Chiteme,” he said.

And Dr Msiska said contingencies were unpredictable.

“The implementation of the plan has put much emphasis on efficient and effective multi-sectoral coordination mechanism to ensure accelerated implementation of programs and products. This has been done to achieve the main outcomes of the plan which we now are all very familiar with. Consequently, recognizing the multi- faceted and intellect nature of the five-development area of the plan, cluster advisory groups have been put in place to coordinate implementation, monitor and report on progress and also deal with horizontal policy consistencies is achieved so that synergies across the pillars of the plan can be achieved. I think we must understand that we embark on a process like this, it’s like a journey and sometimes on a journey you may not have predicted everything that you were supposed to meet.”