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Government has challenged international partners to channel development assistance through Treasury to ensure transparent and effective use of such aid.This was said by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa at the inaugural meeting of Government and development partners in Harare on Wednesday to review the aid co-ordination architecture.

“We know that development assistance is coming from the taxpayers of developed countries. It is important that those who provide us with assistance account in the first instance to their taxpayers on how that development assistance has been utilised, Minister Chinamasa said.

“On our part, when that development assistance has been received by us we have an obligation to say thank you because it is filling a gap, a financing gap. But like I have said before, I can’t say thank you when I don’t know where the assistance has gone, whether it has come and whether we need it and whether it is playing a transformative impact in our economy.

“If I don’t know I can’t basically say thank you. If aid has come and has been channelled otherwise than through Government and we even don’t know, it would be very difficult to say to those who have provided the assistance or aid thank you.”

Minister Chinamasa said in the past he had failed to give satisfactory answers to foreign governments inquiring about how their money had been used. “In the past I have been asked by the home governments of those developed countries, ‘what about this assistance that we gave you?’ And I have frankly told them ‘I don’t know about it’, he said.

“Of course, we cannot always guarantee that there is no abuse, but at least we make this undertaking that if there is abuse we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps that those who are responsible for the abuse are brought to book.”

Minister Chinamasa said the meeting provided a platform to establish a co-ordinated way of handling aid that would ensure transparency.

He said aid provided by donor countries played a crucial role in the implementation of Government programmes such as Zim-Asset.

“In order for us to effectively utilise aid in Zimbabwe, we need to have a well-coordinated architecture as aocated by the principals of Paris, Accra and Busan to get value for money,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Minister Chinamasa said Government had put in place an aid and development assistance co-ordination framework that would significantly improve the effectiveness of development assistance, build transparency and lead towards new levels of engagement and mutual accountability between Zimbabwe and its development partners.

Cabinet has also established a cabinet committee on aid co-ordination (CCAC) under the chairmanship of Minister Chinamasa, to determine Government priorities for aid financing in line with Zim-Asset objectives. The committee will also monitor and evaluate the utilisation of aid to minimise duplication and funding gaps in development assistance activities and enhance accountability in the use of funds. The Finance and Economic Development Ministry has also established an aid co-ordination unit to produce reports on external development assistance by amount, type, sector and origin detail priority funding gaps maintain a register of all aid agreements entered into with development partners and serve as the secretariat for all development co-operation dialogue and negotiations.

Speaking at the same occasion, UNDP Resident Representative Mr Bishow Parajilui, said: “The absence of a well-functioning development mechanism not only prevents the realisation of the enabling factors, but also constraints the Government’s ability to ensure alignment of donor resources to national priorities, potentially depriving the country of value for money.

Development partners can play a valuable role in assisting Government and facilitating the realisation of these enabling factors.

“Aid co-ordination is a critical component of development co-operation, which plays a crucial role in resource allocation to priority sectors and achieving better development outcomes.”

Source : The Herald

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