EU gives Zambia $21 million grants to improve public finance management

The European Union on Wednesday signed a  ‎€17 million ($21 million) financing agreement with the Zambian government aimed at helping the southern African nation strengthen its public finance management system.

The support is for the program on Effectiveness and Transparency in the Management of Public Resources (EFFECT), a five-year program that will help the country improve public finance management.

Funded under the 11th European Development Fund, the program will contribute to the improvement of the planning, budgeting and budget implementation of the Zambian government, improve capacities of oversight public institutions and support the country's revenue agency in its efforts to modernize revenue collection processes to ensure that the tax system was simpler and ensure expanded tax compliance.

"The program we are launching reflects the EU approach "collect more-spend better," intended to reinforce governance, raise the revenue collection, and improve the quality of spending," EU Ambassador to Zambia Alessadro Mariani said during the signing ceremony.

According to him, the program also reflects the need to strengthen fiscal transparency and accountability through effective oversight of the country's budget in all its phases.

The program will address some of the key challenges Zambia is facing in the field of public finance management, which in turn are critical for sustained inclusive growth, he added.

While acknowledging reforms in recent years, the EU noted that Zambia still faces major challenges in the field of public finance management.

Fredson Yamba, the Secretary to the Treasury thanked the EU over its support to Zambia especially in the area of good governance.

The government, he said, has remained committed to enhancing sound public financial management systems and good governance as demonstration through the implementation of various public finance management reforms.

He however said recent revelations in the Auditor-General's report have exposed inadequacies in the management of public finances and reveal that government's overall control systems still require further strengthening.

According to him, the EU support will complement government's efforts to improve prudent use of public resources and ensure accountability.

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