EASTERN Province permanent secretary Dr Buleti Nsemukila says the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Project money is for investments in livelihoods.
Officiating at an Awareness and Capacity Building workshop on Green House Inventory Data requirements and climate change at Protea Hotel in Chipata on Tuesday, Dr Nsemukila urged the implementers of the project to do more of field works as opposed to holding workshop.
“Colleagues, we are talking to ourselves. What do I mean? We are almost in the middle period of the project, this is a five-year project and we are in the middle period. We are supposed to be doing the midterm review but that’s when we could be doing now the baseline. We cannot be doing initial baseline activities and awareness to you people at the district when you are supposed to be doing a midterm review to see how the project has performed in the last two and half years,” he said.
“Now we need to move, where we are talking to ourselves…I think we find it easier to sit like this and start admiring each other’s faces instead of wearing the gumboots and be in the field. Most of the money for this project is actually for investments in livelihood for our people but we are less talking to them, we are busy talking to ourselves in these air conditioned rooms, let’s come out of this, let’s go into the field where this money is supposed to go.”
Dr Nsemukila said so far only 13 per cent of the ZIFLP $32 million budget had been used and the project was halfway.
“Where is most of the money going? Workshops, training, and awareness, talking to ourselves! That’s where most of the money has gone. The real issues affecting the Chimtengo forest…they have got gas stoves, they have got other alternative fuels, the money is in the budget, we haven’t started. Chieftainess Kawaza has started planting those bamboos. Instead of saying ‘your royal highness, let’s escalate this to the community’, we are busy talking to ourselves. Climate smart agriculture, we had the first rains here in Eastern Province, instead of saying ‘let’s start planting the maize with grisidia next to them, production units in schools, how do schools grow grisdia? I don’t know whether we are doing that,” he said.
Dr Nsemukila said $17 million of the $32 million ZIFLP project was a loan that would be paid back in future.
And Eastern Province ZIFLP project manager David Ngwenyama said the challenge posed by the PS was for both the project and implementers.
“What we have actually started doing is getting back to the implementers to see where we can accelerate activities. As I indicated earlier on, we dispersed money in June to do community forestry management but we have got one community forest done in Kasenengwa. So we are going back to the districts (to ask them); what is the issue? Why are you not spending the money that is already with you so that we can disperse some more money?” Ngwenyama said.
He said he would talk to both the provincial and district teams to find out the bottlenecks that they could be facing and resolve them.
The workshop has been organised by ZIFLP in conjunction with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency.