The National Development Coordinating Committee (NDCC) has noted that consistent lower disbursement of funds, than what is budgeted for, has continued hampering the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).

And Committee delegates at a two-day NDCC meeting in Lusaka also called for innovative ways of financing the 7NDP in order to achieve its objectives.

In a statement issued by Ministry of Development and National Planning Spokesperson Chibaula Silwamba, the NDCC observed that decentralisation of the 7NDP was moving at a slow pace, hence constraining to accelerated implementation.

The summary of deliberations and recommendations of the meeting, as compiled by Dr Pamela Nankamba-Kabaso and Dr Dennis Chiwele, further noted that there were inconsistencies on revenue generation.

The Committee pin-pointed major challenges in the implementation of the 7NDP as delayed or insufficient funding due to limited fiscal space; too ambitious targets given the current fiscal balance, pending legislation, weak synergies on development initiatives, non-availability of disaggregated data, and inadequate and untimely availability of finance.

“Ministry of Finance should facilitate a conversation on what can be realistically available to 7NDP activities – how much and when,” NDCC recommended.

It further recommended that the Ministry of National Development Planning engage with cooperating partners to help the Ministry work in the integrated system, while meeting its accountability requirements at the same time.

“The Ministry of National Development Planning should conduct a data mapping exercise to determine: general data availability, how available data sets could speak to each other,” the summary of the meeting read in part.

And the Committee further recommended that there was need to adopt a maintenance policy and implement decentralised monitoring and evaluation systems of the Plan.

It recommended that the Central Statistical Office (CSO), a department in the Ministry of National Development Planning, should be given support to effectively carry out its mandate.

Meanwhile, NDCC noted that though the 2020 Census would be expensive, it was a very important undertaking.