delays by suppliers of goods and services due to various reasons including

Delays by suppliers of goods and services due to

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delays by suppliers of goods and services due to various reasons including their misunderstanding of their clients’ expectations. To address these delays the procurement process has been streamlined by: - (i) clustering the activities so as to sign fewer contracts; (ii) decentralizing the procurement to the two components; and, (iii) outsourcing the procurement function and reviewing/harmonizing the procurement procedures and guidelines. Financial Management and Disbursement: The first phase of the project was implemented with limited accounting staff in the target ministries and agencies. In addition the financial management system that was acquired was not supported by adequate local technical backup services. This was despite management intervention and assurances from the supplier that the problems would be sorted out. Although disbursements were largely carried out with minimal problems, there was room for improvement. For instance the decentralization of disbursement arrangements could have allowed implementing institutions to disburse even faster and implement the activities in a timelier manner. Government has indicated that it will provide adequate accounting staff to support the project implementation units. The disbursements arrangements have been redesigned to minimize disbursement delays. As the funds will be pooled, it is envisaged that the donors will release funds on a six monthly basis to an account at the Bank of Zambia. Details of the disbursement arrangements are included in Annex 7. Information, Education and Communication (IEC): One of the most important lessons learnt for implementing a complex program involving public sector reforms is the need for an effective IEC strategy right from the start. A communication strategy has been designed for PSMP. Counterpart Funding: The first phase was negatively affected by Government’s inability to provide counterpart funding as provided for in the Development Credit Agreement (DCA). This hampered the smooth implementation of planned project activities. This is why 100% expenditure eligibility is proposed for the Association’s support to this project. Moreover, other donors supporting the public sector reforms and with whom IDA is pooling funds are not requesting counterpart funding. Design: The design of a complex program dealing with public sector reforms requires extensive consultations seeking to reach consensus with key players and stakeholders and especially strong ownership by government. Although substantial consultations were carried out during the design stage of phase one, a few shortcomings were realized during the implementation, which suggests that consultations could have been done more extensively. Extensive consultation through the GRZ Technical Working Groups was carried out during the preparation of this PSMP phase, which was a joint effort between government and the donors.
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