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But we hear too much these days about the waste of resources through corruption by Controlling Officers as revealed in government Auditor General's reports. Zambian citizens have every right to know what money has been pledged by reason of debt cancellation and whether or not it has actually been delivered.
FOURTH, a mechanism through which we can broaden citizen involvement in the borrowing process still ceases to exist. Parliament's participation is marginalized and most parliamentary debates have been limited to questioning transparency and accountability during utilization of funds rather than examining usefulness and openness in the borrowing process.
For several years, Jubilee-Zambia has campaigned for a constitutional requirement of parliamentary oversight of new loans by way of approval of contracts. Today, the Minister of Finance and National Planning can sign for millions of dollars of debt without consultation of Parliament.
But the Mung’omba Draft Constitution contains explicit language requiring parliamentary consultation and approval of new loans. That is an important guarantee of fiscal responsibility that must be campaigned for. When some people ask whether a new Constitution will provide more food for people, we can point to clauses like this that will guarantee better allocation of resources to real needs of the people!
How is Jubilee Zambia working with parliamentarians to ensure greater responsibility in borrowing in the future?
The work of broadening the borrowing process as well as requiring transparency in the utilization of debt resources requires the engagement of the wider public which represented by their Members of Parliamentarians.
As Jubilee-Zambia, we have engaged with Parliamentarians in public discussions under the popular programs in provinces known as “Meet your MP”.
At the national level we have provided our parliamentarians with key information and recommendations regarding the need for a transparent and accountable debt contraction and utilization process. The campaign has also linked the Parliamentarians to key processes that aim for broader parliamentary oversight in World Bank and Government activities.
What are some strategies that would not only reduce poverty but also build wealth in Zambia?
Wealth creation in Zambia is key. However, better wealth creation includes the option for the poor who are actually the majority in Zambia. Therefore, poverty reducing strategies, which will enable the poor to access resources not only for their basic needs but also for their long term capital needs, is essential. This has to ensure the security for posterity. In this regard, Zambia has to create the necessary means for people to progress out of poverty through empowering tax regimes and job creation.