Lusaka, 21 May 2010
ROAD SECTOR COOPERATING PARTNERS STATEMENT
ON THE OFFICE OF THE AUDITOR GENERAL (OAG)
ROAD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY AUDIT REPORT
Road Sector Cooperating Partners (CPs) commend the Auditor General for the comprehensive Audit of the Road Development Agency for the years 2006 to 2009.
This Audit is an important element of the Road Sector Management Plan, developed in 2009 with the Government of the Republic of Zambia. Remedial measures arising from the Audit findings, together with a realistic, affordable and sustainable road sector investment programme (ROADSIP II), would pave the way for the resumption of new road works which are still withheld by CPs.
CPs note that the Audit confirms the concerns expressed in 2009 in relation to budget execution and control, resulting in a significant over-commitment. The Audit also outlines serious issues in the management of resources, procurement, contract management, and the quality of works.
The incidence of the shortcomings on the economy of Zambia cannot be overemphasized. As a direct consequence, the rural roads network remains in poor condition and the urban-rural divide keeps deepening. For a country with limited financial resources, with high levels of poverty, every effort should be made to use funds effectively so that investments result in quality and sustainable infrastructure. Furthermore, the transparent and efficient use of public and donor funds is essential to ensure value for money. The Government and the CPs are held accountable by their respective tax payers for the good use of the finances. Though CPs are committed to the development of the country, including at a time when their own financial situation is particularly difficult, they expect assurances on the management of public finances so that the partnership can be in full confidence.
The CPs welcome the immediate actions taken by Government. They appreciate the decision to dissolve the Boards of the Road Development Agency and the National Road Fund Agency and stand ready to support the Government in its endeavour to strengthen the institutions responsible for managing and providing oversight in the roads sector.
Following the creation of the three road sector agencies, as part of the sector reform in Zambia, the challenge now is to create an enabling environment, with special focus on institutional capacity building. CPs, in particular, stand ready to assist with the strengthening of the Road Development Agency to enable it to address the issues highlighted in the audit. The pace of the remedial and policy actions will dictate the timing of CP resumption of resources to the sector.
The Road Sector Cooperating Partners are: African Development Bank, Denamrk, European Union, Germany, Japan and World Bank. These, plus the contact person, are mentioned at the foot of the Statement.