Government says its vision of attaining a middle income socio-economic status can only be effectively assessed through a robust and well-coordinated national monitoring and evaluation system.

And Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) chairperson Isaac Ngoma says there is need to take practical measures in implementing and achieving development goals.

Speaking during the launch of the Monitoring and Evaluation Policy to effectively track progress of its development interventions in Lusaka, Tuesday, acting National Development Planning minister Michael Katambo said the policy launch was a key milestone to help foster economic development to achieve the Vision 2030 Agenda.

“The National Monitory and Evaluation Policy articulates specific mechanisms that will facilitate achievement of the government-wide monitoring evaluation aspirations. The launch demonstrates the commitment of the PF to ensuring achievement of development results towards our national vision of becoming a prosperous middle-income economy by 2030,” Katambo, who is also Agriculture Minister, said.

“As you are aware, we have not had a policy on monitoring and evaluation at national level. The policy is a key milestone for the country considering that we have adopted the culture of results-based management in our development journey. Our vision of attaining prosperous middle income socio-economic status can only be effectively assessed through a robust and well-coordinated national monitoring and evaluation system that is based on a clear policy and legal framework. It is a well-known fact that tracking of progress is not [an] end in itself but has to be complemented by a process of assessing whether the results being produced are the right ones and if they adequately deliver the desired level of development. This is the essence of monitoring and evaluation.”

He explained that the formulation of the Monitoring and Evaluation Policy and other policies would benefit Zambians by ensuring that development planning implementation was effective.

“The government has formulated other complementary policies and legal frameworks, such as the planning and budgeting policy yet to be tabled in Parliament and the Statistics Act, No.13 of 2018. These, together with the National Monitoring and Evaluation Policy, will ensure that development planning implementation and monitoring and evaluation are effectively coordinated and conducted,” said Katambo.

“A robust Monitory and Evaluation system will benefit the Zambian people by ensuring that development is result-oriented and development outcomes are clearly demonstrated through evidence.”

And Ngoma, the former president of the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ), said there was need to move away from the “business as usual” mentality if the country was to achieve its development goals.

“Today, we mark two years since the President (Edgar Lungu) launched the 7NDP (Seventh National Development Plan), a plan that was going to redefine the country. We had a National Development Plan that did not only integrate SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and EU Agenda 2063, but a plan that identified what kind of ingredients we need to attain our Vision 2030…,” Ngoma said. “The vision of becoming a prosperous middle-income country recognized the need for us to move away from our business as usual mentality, including inculcating a shift in our mindset. However, the question for us today, as we approach the midpoint implementation, is to ask how far we have gone to meet those aspirations and how much we have done to improve the lives of the Zambian people in the quest of ensuring that we don’t leave anyone behind.”

He said civil society has been very supportive of the initiative to improve the country’s economy and improve people’s lives.

“Civil Society has not left or folded its arms to let government implement the Plan [alone]; we have been a solid partner, you will attest to the fact that across the country, organisations are implementing projects that are directly benefiting citizens and empowering them in many ways,” said Ngoma. “This footprint remains visible in areas of economic empowerment, especially of women, school-going children through child school sponsorship and more presence is also felt in the health sector where more CSOs are actively implementing interventions to access sexual reproductive health challenges that are affecting adolescents.”