The European Union has selected a partnership of Ecorys, UK, the Parliamentary Centre and PMTC Limited, Zambia to implement a project entitled “Support to the National Assembly of Zambia”.
The three-year project, which will be launched in September 2014, will help strengthen the capacity of the National Assembly of Zambia to perform its roles in formulating and approving the budget, as well as overseeing its implementation by the government. This will include support to ongoing national efforts to establish and strengthen a Parliamentary Budget Office and to support specific parliamentary committees in the execution of their oversight functions.
The project is part of a broader EU programme and interventions under the 10th Economic Development Fund to assist with the improvement of economic governance in the country. It is also in line with Zambia’s Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP), where accountability and efficient resource allocation are key principles.
The country has made many strides in recent years to achieve macro-economic and fiscal stability, and there have been high rates of growth steadily over 6% since 2008. Despite these strides, there are still many challenges related to budget discipline.
Parliaments have a significant role to play in analyzing and overseeing a country’s budget, and it is crucial that a parliament thrives as a technically and organizationally strong institution. The National Assembly in Zambia, which is among the longest functioning legislatures in the southern African region, has been making progress in addressing capacity issues. Discussions with the executive are underway on the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Office, and relevant legislation is expected to be passed.
Through their new project, Ecorys, the Parliamentary Centre and PMTC Limited will provide relevant support, based on their combined experience from over 50 public financial management projects in Africa and around the world.
This project will also build on the Parliamentary Centre’s prior support to the National Assembly as part of the DFATD funded African Parliamentary Strengthening Program (APSP) for Budget Oversight, which included assistance to help establish a Parliamentary Budget Office.
A stronger parliament leads to stronger governance of a country. It is hoped that by strengthening budgetary accountability in Zambia, the country will come closer to achieving its objectives set out in the SNDP, some of which include the acceleration of infrastructure development, economic growth and diversification, better rural investment, poverty reduction and enhanced human development.