Government sees CUTS as a valuable partner in the reform agenda

Lusaka, July 28, 2014

Government says the Business Licensing Reform Programme (BLRP) being undertaken under the Private Sector Development Reform Programme (PSDRP) has potential to further increase welfare gains for transporters and commuters in the public passenger transport sector.

And Kayula Siame, Programme Coordinator, PSDRP hinted that reforms are on-going and constant feedback is required to inform the on-going reform processes and the subsequent ones.

Meanwhile, Consumer Unity and Trust Society Board Treasurer, Roseta Mwape says observes that, while there is willingness and commitment of government to reform, there is little data available to engage government in evidence based dialogue on the reforms. And that, this limitation of data availability poses a serious challenge to civil society and the private sector to effectively engage government in discussing the impact of some of the reforms undertaken.

They were speaking at the launch of an evaluation project of the BLRP by CUTS International Lusaka. The research project was aimed at assessing the impact of the BLRP on the public (passenger) transport sector from the point of view of welfare gains or losses to service providers and consumers or commuters.

Charles K Sipanje, Permannet Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, in a speech read on his behalf by, Irene Tembo, Chief Planner, Department of Planning, said for the success of any economy, enabling policies and frameworks are pre-requisites fostering strong growth.

“The Business Licensing Reform Programme therefore is necessary to stimulate private sector growth and also protect the interests of the consumers hence this project fits in well in the reform agenda as it will bring out some complimentary first-hand information on the successes, challenges and opportunities of the business licensing reform process in the public transport sector”, he added.

In view of this, he said government saw this as a great input to the reform process and the public transport sector to be specific and hence hinted that government was looking forward to the findings of the research and would be happy to work with CUTS in liaising with the relevant Ministries and institutions for incorporating the emerging recommendations in relevant policies and processes.

Siame on the other hand emphasised the importance of a framework which is aimed at fostering economic reforms. She said a framework such as the one held under the PSDRP had the potential to ensure inclusive growth, industrialization and employment creation when effectively implemented. “We are therefore looking forward to this project and we see this as a partnership”, she said

She therefore commended CUTS for the initiative and pledged PSDRP’s support to the project.

Mwape further noted that they were a very few evaluations that both the PSDRP (one and two) looked at the impact of these reforms from a welfare gain or loss for businesses and consumers point of view.

“This is the most critical feedback PSDRP Coordinating Unit ought to be given on the reforms they are undertaking”, she added.

While giving the closing remarks, Yusuf Dodia, CUTS International Lusaka Board Member stressed the importance of the transport sector. He stated that good road connectivity can bring nations together. “Such a study has the potential to highlight successes and opportunities of the reform process which may also be used to better other transportation options”, he said.

Dodia thanked CUTS for such an initiative and was positive that CUTS will deliver on this research. He further thanked the participants and the representative from the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication and hoped that the findings from the study will be taken up by the Ministry.

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