Kabwe district, in Zambia's Central Province is situated 140 kilometres from Lusaka, the country's capital
Kabwe district, in Zambia's Central Province is situated 140 kilometres from Lusaka, the country's capital. The district has a population of about 230,802 people.
Residents of Kabwe have access to various services, including policing, water and sanitation, construction infrastructure, roadways, and agricultural assistance services, like other established councils and municipalities in the nation.
The Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund), a global multi-donor and multi-agency development vehicle established in 2014 by the United Nations to support sustainable development activities has provided funding to 116 local authorities in Zambia, including Kabwe Municipal Council.
With the aid of the SDG Fund, local government officials and selected members of the community got training on how to develop output-based budgets to encourage more efficient resource management with quantifiable results. The joint fund in Zambia is implemented with support from five UN agencies, namely the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Councils and municipalities in the nation employed an Activity-Based Budgeting (ABB) approach to specifying their budgets for development activities as a monitoring and evaluation tool before the introduction of Output-Based Budgeting (OBB).
The directors of finance, planning, and the chief accountant from the Kabwe municipality, together with a few Makululu compound residents, took part in this training. Ward Development Committee (WDC) Treasurer from Makululu, Mulemba Mwaangala, values the new strategy for producing results in her neighbourhood.
"We suffered greatly in the past because we had to go great distances to get water, and the flooding brought on by the inadequate drainage system made it difficult to move around the neighbourhood," said Ms Mwaangala.
She has applauded the Kabwe City Council's initiative to enhance drainage and minimize floods in the neighbourhood. She is very happy that the area has had three boreholes drilled by the local authorities.
Ms Mwaangala was even happier when she learned that her sister had been given a scholarship from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) so that she could study auto mechanics at Kabwe Trades Training Institute.
Haggai Kasuba Mwila, another Makululu resident, commended the intervention on helping with putting in place infrastructure. "The council has constructed toilets, a wall fence and provided 200 desks at Shangila School."
Haggai, who also serves as Ward Development Committee (WDC) Trustee for Makululu, also expressed satisfaction with the way OBB has made it simple for WDCs to submit their budgets to the council.
Patrick Muba, the WDC Chair and a resident of Makululu echoed these sentiments. "We used to have WDC and zone meetings to talk about what activities need to be included in the budget before output-based budgeting was introduced. The councillor received the budget from us and took it to the council for inclusion "said Muba.
He was also happy to have participated in the integrated development plan process which made it easy for residents to keep track of every deliverable in the plan and monitor its progress from inception.
The Kabwe Municipal Council's administrators also value the new budget strategy since it produces outcomes their communities can see. It was difficult to translate outputs during the Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) phase because the council was more concerned with activities than with results, according to Director of Finance, Benjamin Kasongo.
"OBB prioritizes outcomes. It has streamlined the budgeting procedure, simplified budgeting as a tool, and made it simpler to understand and increasing its transparency. Everyone who requests details on budget spending can get the information, "said Mr Kasongo.
The creation of budgets, he continued, has become straightforward, enabling them to be completed on time, resulting in the alignment of the council's budget with the 8th National Development Plan's key objectives.
According to Moses Evans Silumbwa, interim Director of Planning for the Kabwe City Council, people can picture their intended outcomes using OBB.
"With OBB, there is a greater emphasis on what people want to accomplish and it is time-bound. According to Silumbwa, OBB's impact on drawing attention to the shortcomings in the ABB procedure has enhanced delivery.
OBB has helped local governments set goals and match finances with specific projects. This mode of budgeting also provides a critical opportunity to support planning and budgeting in line with the National Planning and Budgeting Act. The roll-out of OBB with the support from the Joint SDG Fund is a good example on alignment between the central and local budgeting processes. Further, communities, who make up the major stakeholders, participate budget preparation process.