“Zambia’s Drought Relief efforts”

…TI-Z Demands Greater Transparency and Accountability in Management of Public Funds

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 – (09-07-2024) – Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) has sharply criticized the Zambian government for mishandling drought relief efforts, attributing the inadequacies to a failure to incorporate meteorological forecasts into planning and budgeting processes.

Tommy Singongi, TI-Z Public Resource Management Coordinator, emphasized that the government’s response was delayed and insufficient, reflecting a lack of commitment to transparency and accountability in managing public funds.

Singongi highlighted that the supplementary budget of K41.9 billion is primarily allocated to external debt repayment and fuel arrears, rather than addressing the immediate needs of drought-affected communities.

He also raised alarms about the lack of transparency in managing forfeited assets used to fund drought relief efforts.

In response, the government defended its actions, citing the allocation of K8.3 billion for emergency drought response and Social Cash Transfer programs.

However, Singongi and TI-Z called for greater transparency and accountability, expressing concerns about political influence and corruption.

He noted that early warnings from the Zambia Meteorological Department in October 2023 were not reflected in the 2024 National Budget, and there was a lack of public awareness campaigns from the Ministries of Agriculture and Green Economy and Environment.

The controversy has sparked widespread criticism and demands for more responsible management of public resources.

He recommended enhanced budget credibility, transparency, and accountability, with increased public participation in supplementary budget development processes.

He also urged the Cabinet Office to coordinate robust responses to early warnings from meteorological assessments and for the Ministry of Agriculture to intensify efforts in food diversification and security.

Additionally, he said the Ministry of Energy was advised to fully implement the Renewable Energy Strategy and Action Plan to bolster energy security.

TI-Z remains committed to promoting integrity and accountability in Zambia’s governance processes and stands ready to collaborate with stakeholders to address these critical issues.

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