The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) says a negative mindset among citizens is one of the key national constraints to development and social transformation.

According to a report compiled by PMRC, under executive director Bernette Deka’s supervision, any country’s economy could only be grow if citizens played their respective roles and responsibilities diligently.

“The wealth of society is created by the collective efforts of citizens who include workers, farmers, intellectuals and entrepreneurs, among many others. If citizens do not have a culture of hard work and sacrifice, there would be minimal economic progress the country can make in spite of progressive policies. Experience has shown that countries with an entrenched culture of hard work develop faster. In view of this, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Edgar C Lungu, during the official opening of the second session of the Twelfth National Assembly of Parliament emphasized on the need for a ‘change of mindset’ in order for the country to achieve aspirations in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP 2017-2021). This analysis focused on the role of mindset in the implementation of the 7NDP whilst also depicting the need for a mindset education programme in Zambia,” the report read in part.

The report also recounted how the implementation of precedent National Development Plans had failed to take off due to inadequate financing, failure to fully implement the decentralisation policy, poor uptake of results, weak inter-sectoral coordination and programme linkages.

“The Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP), Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) Revised Sixth National Development Plan (RSNDP) faced similar implementation challenges. The following challenges and observations need to cautiously be reviewed and rectified to ensure that the 7NDP doesn’t face similar implementation challenges. In summary, the challenges range from inadequate financing, failure to fully implement the decentralisation policy, poor uptake of results, lack of a national programme project appraisal system as well as weak inter-sectoral coordination and programme linkages. To ensure successful implementation of the strategies in the 7NDP, a positive mindset will be key and inculcating this mindset will be the most cardinal element. Ministries Provinces and other Spending Agencies (MPSAs) need to take ownership of the 7NDP and collectively work upon all the challenges that hindered the implementation of previous development Plans,” the report read.

Meanwhile, the researchers urged government to pay attention to reasons why previous national development plans failed.

“The previous national development plans were mostly supported through the annual budgets however, the amounts and unpredictability of budgetary releases negatively affected programme implementation. From previous development plans, some programmes were not funded as provided
for partly due to funds not being availed on time to Ministries, Provinces and other Spending Agencies (MPSAs). The Plans were also affected by failure to fully implement the decentralisation Policy, especially fiscal decentralisation, despite the approval of both the policy and its implementation plan. They were further affected by poor coordination among various implementing entities and stakeholders mainly due to limitations in the institutional arrangements and technical capacities,” read the report.

“There was also poor uptake of results, which led to implementing agencies not having timely policy guidance with regard to the implementation of the Plans. This was because of poor appreciation of monitoring and evaluation in MPSAs for internal use, coupled with fragmented systems within and between Ministries. Although the Plans provided for M&E frameworks and systems to support decision- making processes, these frameworks and systems were unable to provide data as expected. In view of responding to the observations that hindered the implementation of previous plans, the 7NDP needs to address lessons learnt and commit to implementation interventions to diversify the economy away from mining. Implement employment creating interventions that would reduce informality and improve decent work conditions, with a special focus on rural areas.”

The report also re-emphasized the importance of the agricultural, mining and tourism sectors towards poverty reduction and employment creation.

Meanwhile, PMRC called for a mindset education programme to be established and implemented towards successful implementation of the 7NDP and asked Zambians to take ownership of the plan.