By JOHN SAKALA
National Development Planning Minister Alexander Chiteme says Government has come up with Public Investment Board to approve all Public Investment projects before their implementation.
Speaking in Indonesia where he is attending the IMF-World bank annual meeting, Mr Chiteme said the board is one of the series of austerity measures announced by Zambian Government.
He said the board will scrutinise the cost implications between the predicted outcomes and financial input and also make recommendations on the most feasible financing modalities of such projects.
“At the core of this austerity measure is to manage escalating costs on public investments and bring them to the most bearable levels that will guarantee value for money both on the Government and beneficiaries.
“The work of the Public Investment Board under the Ministry of National Development Planning will be anchored on the Public Investment Management System. The system will provide a data base to enable the Board understand the nature, focus and desired outcomes of the projects and determine whether the proposed public investment projects are aligned with national objectives and priorities and can be implemented in a cost effective manner,” he said.
The Minister said the Board’s responsibility will be to provide policy guidelines on the development and selection of projects that meet the required technical, economical and appropriate social requirements.
The ultimate objective for putting in place the Public Investment Board is to provide policy direction in the selection of the public projects that will ultimately have higher impacts.
“The terms of reference to guide the operations of the board have been developed and the composition in terms of institutional representation has also been determined.
“Once Cabinet approves the names of the persons to sit on the board, I will make known to the public the names of the office bearers,” he said.
The Ministry with support from cooperating partners under the Public Financial Management Reform Programme is thus putting in place the public investment management system to support the work of the Board of appraising of public investment projects.
He said so far, the draft procedures manual and guidelines for public investment management had been prepared.
The Minister said a total of 25 Government officers in the Ministry of National Development Planning and other Ministries have also been trained in various aspects of project appraisal including financial and economic analysis, as well as stakeholder and risk analysis.
“Work is in progress with regard to the development of technical specification for an ICT system and a database to support the Public Investment Management System.
“At the core of implementing this austerity measure is to have in place a central sieving point for all projects and ascertain their worthwhileness and later on value for money and bring order into the economy on how projects are conceived, selected and implemented and whether they will meet the requirements of the beneficiaries in terms of transforming their socio-economic landscape,” he said.
The statement was made available to The Independent Observer by Ministry of National Development Planning Spokesperson and Assistant to the Minister Chibaula Silwamba.