NATIONAL Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme says a number of projects around Zambia have experienced slower implementation due to low funding caused by reduced fiscal space.

Speaking during the end of year press briefing in Lusaka, Thursday, Chiteme, however, said progress had been made in the implementation of the programmes.

“In terms of monitoring and evaluation, the Ministry managed to produce the 2019 Annual Performance Review (APR) Report and the Mid-Term Review Report (MTR) covering the period 2017 to 2019 on the performance of the 7NDP. Overall, the two reports indicate progress has been recorded in the implementation of programmes and projects in the 7NDP, though at a slower pace. During the last quarter of 2020, the Ministry also undertook a Spot Monitoring Exercise in all the 10 provinces and a total of 276 projects and programmes were checked covering 74 districts. For a good number of projects visited, remarkable progress has been made, while fewer projects experienced slow implementation due to low funding caused by reduced fiscal space,” Chiteme said.

“In brief, the aforementioned are some of the activities that were implemented by my Ministry and were in line with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). As I speak, the process of formulating the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) has already commenced and lessons learned in the implementation of the current plan will be taken into account and so will the strategies contain the recently-launched Economic Recovery Programme (ERP). In line with the National Policy on climate change, the Ministry of National Development Planning is responsible for overall coordination and oversight, and mainstreaming of climate change in national development planning processes. The Ministry also mobilises resources for climate change interventions, including livelihood sustainability for those impacted negatively by climate change.”

Chiteme further outlined objectives the Ministry intends to embark on in the New Year.

“Under the National Designated Authority for the Green Climate Fund, the following are the main milestones achieved to-date: the National Adaptation Planning (NAP) for climate resilience readiness proposal worth US $2.2 million was approved by the Green Climate Fund in March, 2020. This adaptation planning support will focus on developing the overarching national nap, which covers priority sectors, and on developing a Water National Adaptation Plan. The inclusion of Zambia to the Climate Investor One (CIO) project worth US $820 million was approved in October, 2020. The CIO, a blended finance facility, is an innovative financing approach designed to provide funding to renewable energy projects in regions with power deficits to reduce energy costs and carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions. Under the COVID-19 Energy Access Relief Facility (EARF), a US $60 million concessional debt fund was approved by the Green Climate Fund in November, 2020, and the country qualifies to access this facility,” said Chiteme.

“The EARF is intended to provide vital liquidity in the form of low-interest unsecured junior loans to energy access companies that are facing liquidity challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. The funds provided could possibly maintain service for over 2.4 million customers, and with the potential to preserve approximately 1,000 jobs in Zambia. The government secured US $100 million from the World Bank to support climate change mitigation and adaptation projects Transforming Landscapes for Resilience and Development (TRALARD) in Muchinga, Luapula and Northern provinces. The TRALARD project is supporting sustainable use of natural resources for livelihoods, and will help government adequately and timely respond to climate-related crises. In addition, US $150 million has been secured to support renewable energy and adaptation projects in Zambia; and US $14 million for ongoing support for private sector-led climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. Further, progress was made in 2020 in the continued implementation of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) projects in Western, Southern and Central provinces.”