Action Aid Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba has called on government to address the poor disbursement of funds to the health and agricultural sectors.

ActionAid Zambia, ESAF and SAfAID Zambia, which are part of the consortium on the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), are implementing the SDC Phase Two Project expected to run from July 2019 to June 2023 with the goal of ‘Strengthening Social Accountability and Oversight in Health and Agriculture in Southern Africa’.

This project is being implemented in five countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Zambia, it is operating in the three districts: Chipata, Mongu and Nalolo with the aim to improve accountability in public resource management, particularly in the areas of HIV/SRH services for adolescents and youth and agricultural services for services for smallholder farmers, contributing to the realization of selected SADC regional commitments across the five target countries.

Speaking during the launch of phase two, Wednesday, Ziba noted that social accountability in the country could only be enhanced when timely disbursement of funds was realized.

“Guest of honor, in order to enhance works around social accountability, there is need for government to ensure several issues are addressed particularly in the two sectors (Agriculture and Health); Enactment of the planning and Budgeting Bill, to enhance participation of key stakeholder in these processes, address issues, concerning inadequate financing in the Agriculture and Health for improved service delivery at all levels, increased placement of extension service officers to mitigate the current ratio which stands and 1 Extension service officer per 800 small scale farmers against the required standard of 1:400 famers, poor disbursement of funds against budgeted funds in both sectors and address systematic issues surrounding the FISP management for improved transparency and accountability,” said Ziba.

Meanwhile, Lukulu East UPND member of parliament Dr Christopher Kalila called for increased interaction between civil society and government if social accountability was to be achieved.

“Civil society plays a complementary role in ensuring that those that are charged with administering resources are held accountable in ensuring that these resources are put to good use. It is not antagonistic but merely complementary in ensuring that public resources are put to good use, in ensuring that there is no wastefulness in tracking those resources, in tracking the programs and in galvanizing citizens to take interest in their own affairs,” said Kalila.