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CSPR urges govt to engage citizens in budgeting process

CIVIL Society for Poverty Reduction Eastern Province coordinator Maxson Nkhoma says the country has not embraced social accountability as a tool to foster economic development in the country.

And CSPR has advised the government to actively engage citizens during the budgeting process.

During a CSPR organised social accountability training at Eastern Comfort Lodge on Monday, Nkhoma said Zambians should be equipped with social accountability skills.

“Our ultimate goal is to equip people from various sectors, government departments, civil society organisations with full knowledge on fundamentals of social accountability. I think as a country, we have not so much embraced social accountability as a tool that can foster economic development in our country. But the importance of this training is that it brings different stakeholders together to walk together on the fundamentals of social accountability so that they can now start to appreciate the various roles which they play,” Nkhoma said.

He said the country had missed so much development not because of lacking resources but because of not consulting the people about their
needs.

“The training is aimed at equipping members of the press, government departments, civil society and heads of government departments with the practical fundamentals of the social accountability work. Going forward, what we want to achieve after this training is that the planning processes at provincial district and sub-district level will begin to involve citizens when government is planning and budgeting for service delivery. It is only when government goes out to the people and find out what their needs are that service delivery is going to be responsive to the people,” Nkhoma said.

He said gone were the days when few people could sit and plan for the development of a lot of people.

“What needs to be done is that citizens need to be engaged, to be asked; what is it that needs to be done for example in the health or agriculture sectors? I think you know the agriculture sector had a lot of challenges that we faced last year when it came to e-voucher and we hope that this year, as they are planning for the e-voucher for the next farming season, government can take an opportunity to look at programmes that we have where we are trying to bring on board initiatives on how government can for example engage the local people to find out from them about the challenges faced last year and perfect the system,” said Nkhoma, adding that citizens should always be at the centre of planning and budgeting at all levels of government.

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