THE government’s home grown policy of service improvement program (SIP or PSIP & DSIP) is seen as an overarching policy that is making a lot of impact.
Since the introduction of District Development Programme (DDP) in 2000-2001 of K1m then transformed to SIP (K10m) by the government, lot of districts are witnessing unprecedented development taking shape.
Projects such as rural water and electrification projects, roads and bridges, communication towers, district hospitals/health centres, technical schools, school buildings, SMEs, markets are among others which cannot be denied.
The government is appropriating huge development funds to provinces and districts in the form of PSIP and DSIP for effective basic service delivery.
This is all about empowering sub-national, embracing decentralisation and de-concentration under the organic law on provincial and local level government.
However, it all depends entirely on good political and administrative leadership.
This are our responses to continuous outburst, comments and critiques made by the public on both mainstream and social media platforms on the usage of the popular SIP (PSIP & DSIP) programme.
We should all appreciate the fact that the policy by the previous and current government in shifting development funds to the districts is not a mistake but one of the best policy.
However some districts are not performing to the expectation of our people.
That is why they criticise their political leaders and administrations in the media.
They are the ears and eyes of how their funds are being applied.
The onus is on the districts to ensure services are delivered effectively to our rural populace.
The government is playing its mandated roles and responsibilities to ensure people in rural villages and communities receive minimum services that would transform their lives.
The onus is based on the leadership played at the sub-national administration on the management of these development grants.
The DDAs and administrations in their development planning should critically focus on minimum standards and development gaps.
Department of Implementation and Rural Development recently conducted SIP Administrative Guidelines and Financial Instructions to all provincial and district administrators, provincial and district finance managers, planners and sector managers to be equipped when rolling out SIP programme and they must follow the process and laws.
For a number of years, each province and district received K10 million including provincial and district support grants (PSG & DSG) and other development grants from either the national government, through Public Investment Programme or development partners, that should be put into good use where the recipient can see the tangible results.
Some provinces and districts faced challenges in terms of logistics due to geographical isolation and remoteness, however these should not be an excuse.
The administration should strategically plan and ensure the implementation process continues to deliver tangible development to remote corners of their respective electorates.
As far as the national government is concern, the SIP programme is here to stay.
All we want is sub-national administrations and stable political leadership required to deliver basic services based on 5-year development plans and good decisions, not contrary.
We have noted that violating of the administrative guidelines and financial instruction by not submitting acquittal reports, development plans and budgets contribute to misapplication of SIP funds.
Provinces and districts should counter-fund projects through PSIP and DSIP to apply economic of scale to achieve greater results.
Provinces are made out of districts therefore PSIP should be applied equally.
The department is now going through the procurement process of engaging a best consultant to develop a best SIP data base to enhance the department’s capacity.
Thus it is compulsory to submit reports so that the department can analyse and provide proper SIP performance report to the government and parliament as well as citizens to know how their PSIP/DSIP funds are applied accordingly.
Media Advisor, Dept of Imple
mentation & Rural Development