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|Title:||Evaluation of rural services delivery in Mpongwe district|
|Keywords:||Education, Health , Agriculture, FRA, CARITAS|
|Abstract:||The ultimate target of a Peoples Budget is to improve the level of living of the poor and the very poor through raised incomes, a healthy life and educated society and culture. Towards this end, the Survey assessed indirect expenditure in the form of Fertilizer Supply Programme [FISP] and the Minimum Price of maize set by Government and administered by Food Reserve Agency [FRA] and evaluation by the farmers themselves regarding the free provision of services in health, agricultural extension and basic education. Field work took place in May -September 2010. Compared with countries at similar levels of income in the world and others in the SADC region, Zambia’s public expenditure as a percent of national income is one of the lowest. Within this parameter, expenditure in health and education as a percent of the total budget are also one of the lowest. To improve the welfare of the poor within the limited expenditure bracket, effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery is very vital. The more so, although there are many pro poor policies such as the provision of subsidy and free health and education services, a bulk of them do not appear to reach the poor but appropriated as ’positional rent’ by service providers. The quality of service provision as perceived by the recipients is poor. There appears to be a mismatch in the interface of the polices and the institutions and instruments in place to implement them. The poor start from a low income base and poor social networks to access opportunities. The low income base places them in pre-harvest indebtedness at high rates of interest. In the path towards clearing their accumulated debt entered for consumption, school fees, inputs and holidays, delayed and/or unpredictable payment by FRA puts a high premium for cash to pay debt and buy inputs for the following season on time. They are pressurized to sell at lower prices to traders and others. More often than not, the low sale value of harvest and other household demands deprives them of the ability to pay down payment for modern inputs. This results in reduced acreage under tillage, low yields & low incomes reproducing the vicious circle of poverty. To pluck out the poor from this vicious circle of poverty and direct the ‘positional rent’ appropriated by the service providers towards a Peoples Budget, the granting of cash purchasing power directly is recommended. In such a process, directly paying for the services, the current poor and the very poor will be served with courtesy and respect rather than expectations of rent, patronization and implanting docility in them. The poor and the very poor can benefit from the market working for them. Delayed payment by FRA is indeed a serious problem which in practice redirects the price support element of subsidy to the better off. Government can ensure the maximum period say two weeks within which payments have to be made. Short of that, a breach of contract indemnity may be paid to its client farmers by the Government parastatal. The leasing out of part of the parastatal’s functions may improve the situation of poorer farmers. With respect to access to secondary education, instead of a blanket free education beyond basic school, targeted access to free post basic education for the poor and the very poor prioritizing girls may be considered.|
|Appears in Collections:||Business Studies|
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