Limited citizen participation in public finance management is promoting rampant corruption in the government machinery and denying people development, a new study shows.
This was evidenced by reports from enforcement agencies, the Area Development Committees (ADs) as well as the civil society organisations that participated in the study by Centre for Social Concern (CfSC).
The study findings stems from a project the centre is implementing with funding from the Germany Government through its economic development arm GIZ.
The project is titled Strengthening the capacity of citizens to demand transparency and accountability in public finance management for reduced poverty and inequality.
It’s goal is to empower citizens to demand transparency and accountability on public financial management for reduced inequality and poverty.
The study was conducted between February and March 2021 by consultants Atusaye Mwalwanda and Thumbiko Mkandawire under Agri Consultants and Suppliers followed by desk study, consultations and focus group discussions, private organisations and right holders, among others.
The outcome shows that there is minimal participation or no participation at all in public finance management orchestrated by public officers as well as politicians despite having policies and laws that promote citizen participation.
The results of the study also found that despite the prevalence of Access to Information that was gazetted in 2020, transparency and accountability is lacking in government institutions as well as on use of public finance and other resources.
Commenting on the findings, Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo admitted that the outcome represents the reality on the ground and called for massive civic education for the citizenry to be empowered to hold duty bearers to account for their actions.
He said: “Public resources belong to the people, it’s sad that there is weak demand for accountability from the citizenry from public officers.
“As a ministry we are taking this as a responsibility to design civic education programmes to empower the citizens to take interest in laws and policies to demand transparency and accountability from an informed position”.
CfSC executive director James Ngahy expressed concern that politicians take advantage of the ignorance of common citizens to divert public resources.