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Government to release K15 billion towards citizen empowermente

Economic empowerment founds have been a thorn in the flesh in many country’s and Zambia in no exception.

Since its establishment about two years ago, the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has come under attack from several sections of the Zambian community.

Complaints have been that funds meant for empowerment in most cases end up in the pockets of the rich and privileged especially those in the corridors of power.

Zambia has had numerous economic empowerment programmes targeting to empower citizens, however, little impact has been seen hence some citizens expressing their mixed feelings over a similar programme this time around.

 

Mwanawasa Legacy

An initiative of the late President Mwanawasa, the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) today said it has approved 109 business projects.

The Commission has since announced that it would by next release over
K15 billion towards the projects.

ZANIS reports that the CEEC has said the indicative figures by the commission shows that the appraised projects have the potential to create 861 jobs by January this year.

CEEC chairperson, Jacob Sikazwe announced this at a press briefing in Lusaka.

Mr. Sikazwe said 73 projects at a cost of K8.6 billon have been approved this year while 36 projects at a total value of K6.6 billon were approved in December last year.
He said of the 73 projects approved this month, 20 are being promoted by the youths, 21 by women, one project by the disabled and the remaining 31 are been promoted by male entrepreneurs.

Mr. Sikazwe said the commission is mainly focusing on the marginalized and less privileged such as marketers, small-scale traders, the youths, disabled, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
He noted that in terms of provinces, Lusaka province has 25 projects amounting to K5 billion, Southern has 23 projects at K1.6 billion, Eastern has 17 projects valued at K1.3 billon.

 

He said Copperbelt and Central provinces have two projects each at K74 million, and K88 million respectively while North Western has four projects valued at K403 million.

 

Commission Pillars

Mr. Sikazwe has bemoaned luck of understanding by the citizens regarding the work of CEEC saying the public focus is only the funds.
He said the citizens need to understand that CEEC is guided by nine pillars which are, equity, ownership, management and control, preferential procurement, skills development, and access to finance.

He said other pillars are transformation of society, corporate social responsibility, good governance, and Greenfield investment.

 

Sensitization

He has also disclosed that the commission has since embarked on provincial tours to raise awareness to the communities and ensure that empowerment programmes are effectively implemented by targeted citizens.

Mr. Sikazwe said with this tour the commission has seen an improvement and in the quality of application forms submitted by the citizens.

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January 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Curiously, I do not observe that there is a project in Luapula Province.The people there are generally very impoverished; have there been any projects before?

    Comment by Joe Kawimbe | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Joe,

    One beat I enjoyed most during my stint at The Zambia Daily Mail was covering Parliament in session.

    I looked forward to being a wittiness in the making while intelligent debaters argued for and against the motion on the floor both from the ruling and opposition parties.

    Unfortunately, as we gazed down from the Press Gallery upstairs it was common on a daily basis to see some Parliamentarians who are the peoples representatives dozing and sleeping like babies in some cases.

    At one time I recall a colleague of mine the late Isabelle Chimangani (MHSRP) from The Times of Zambia pushing a note through to me asking me what the hell some Members of Parliament whose names I have deliberately chosen not to publish at least for now.

    “I thought those three guys are honorable Members of Parliament who are supposed to be awake and debating in the house. Could you tell me what the hell they are doing here?” she wrote.

    My shot response was that “hell knows for now but they better be kicked out of Parliament because they don’t know that being in this House is a matter of life and death not for themselves but their constituents”.

    The following is a recent statement issued in Parliament following a question by Mwense Member of Parliament, Mr. Chongo

    PROGRAMME FOR LUAPULA AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
    “422. Mr Chongo (Mwense) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:
    (a) how much money was initially allocated to the Programme for Luapula Agricultural and Rural Development (PLARD) in Luapula;
    (b) how much money had so far been spent on PLARD projects since inception, district by district; and
    (c) what other projects were targeted, district by district, and when they would be implemented.
    The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, 10, 327,000 Euros, which is equivalent to K51,635,000,000, was allocated to the Programme for Luapula Agricultural and Rural Development in Luapula Province for the period 1st March, 2006 to 28th February, 2010.
    Mr Speaker, by 28th May, 2008, the total amount spent was 2,732,881 Euros, which is equivalent to K13,804,658,743. Furthermore, PLARD activities are mostly implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and to a lesser extent by other partners, such as the District Farmers Association and Fishers Association.
    Sir, PLARD does not provide funding on a district by district basis. Instead, activities are in four components namely; Fisheries, Agriculture, Agribusiness and Institution and Policy Support and, also, around key products such as fish, groundnuts, beans, vegetables, goats, sheep and poultry.
    Finally, the other project implemented in the Luapula Province is the Government-funded Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) which supports small-scale farmers with subsidised inputs in the districts.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, K51.6 billion is quite a colossal sum of money. The people of Luapula Province, through their hon. Member of Parliament, have been to the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives to tell them about the projects …
    Mr Speaker: Order! You are debating. What is your follow-up question?
    Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, when is the ministry going to direct the monies towards the projects that the hon. Members of Parliament are suggesting because we believe they will impact positively on the community.
    The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, our planning process starts at the district level. It would be prudent for hon. Members of Parliament to involve the districts as they start planning since this is the basis on which these activities are funded.
    I thank you, Sir.
    Mr Kasongo (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that whenever we approach the district and provincial managers, they refer us to Lusaka? How can he, therefore, reconcile the two, bearing in mind that he is a new arrival in that ministry?
    Laughter
    Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives will ignore the last part of that statement.
    Laughter
    Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, if that is what has happened, that is unfortunate because the plans have been decentralised. Therefore, we do not expect the provincial and district administrations to refer such senior leaders to the Ministry of Health …
    Laughter
    Dr Chituwo: … Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives Headquarters.
    Laughter
    Mr Speaker: Order! This is what the Romans refer to as ellipsis lingua, meaning a slip of the tongue.
    Laughter
    Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, since we are in the planning phase for next year’s Budget, the PLARD input is in our strategic plan. This is an issue which we shall quickly follow up on and ensure that we speak with a coherent voice.
    I thank you, Sir.
    Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether the books of accounts in the departments he has mentioned are audited annually.
    Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, since the monies and activities are approved by the Government, I would like to confirm that the books are audited not only by the Government by also by our co-operating partners.
    I thank you, Mr Speaker.”
    Joe, I just wanted to calm down your frustration of lack of development in Luapula, however, I will push your comment to the Commission for a resolute response to your comment.

    Hope there were be a response.

    # # #

    Comment by kbwhighway | January 28, 2009 | Reply


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