By JOHN SAKALA
Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has directed officials at the Ministry of Finance to deeply reflect on the forthcoming assignment and prepare a well-structured engagement strategy.
This was after he announced that the International Monetary Fund will conduct a virtual consultative and information exchange mission for Zambia from June 22, to July 1, 2020.
Dr Ng’andu asked his management team to closely monitor the cleaning-up of all the required data requirements and ICT facilities in preparation for seamless engagement with the International Monetary Fund.
During the staff mission, the IMF team will conduct virtual consultative and information exchange sessions with Central Government, Bank of Zambia, Zambia Revenue Authority, and other stakeholders in the Zambian economy.
In this regard, Dr Ng’andu has implored relevant public sector agencies to adopt mindsets that are positive, symbiotic, and systemic.
The Minister also emphasised the need to identify competent and dedicated staff who will adequately allocate time to prepare for the assignment in order for the country to obtain the best possible conclusive outcome on future cooperation with the Fund.
The Minister was speaking at his office in Lusaka during the weekly top-management visioning-and-milestone-setting meeting on economic policy, fiscal affairs, tax policy financial management, and internal controls.
Present were Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, Permanent Secretary (Economic Management & Finance) Mukuli Chikuba, Permanent Secretary (Budget and Economic Affairs) Dr Mulenga Pamu, Accountant General Kennedy Musonda and Controller (Internal Audit) Chibwe Mulonda.
Dr Ng’andu seized the opportunity to encourage his management team to ensure that innovation, professionalism, integrity, and diligence take root in the work culture of the Ministry “especially during this difficult period.”
To emphasize his expectation for improved service delivery, Dr ng’andu asked for expeditious implementation of the government policy on performance management for all divisions, directorates, and agencies under the Ministry of Finance.
He also called for development of an effective domestic revenue collection monitoring system to optimize revenue mobilisation efforts and help to reduce the financing gap created by the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
“Let us ensure that non-tax revenue collection initiatives are implemented and monitored well,” he said.
Among the Minister’s other points of emphasis was the need for accuracy in the production of debt related data, firmness in the implementation of liability management measures, and a sound domestic arrears dismantling programme.
Dr Ng’andu took the opportunity to pledge sustained commitment to the deceleration of public debt accumulation. He appealed, strongly, that a close watch on external debt metrics “must be maintained so that obligations that fall due are serviced in a timely manner.”
He reiterated on the need for the Ministry of Finance to frequently engage both local and foreign development partners in order to improve information exchange on matters of mutual developmental and multi-sectoral investment interest.
This is according to a media statement by Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta.