Treasury makes savings from e-voucher project

GOVERNMENT has saved about K48 million from the implementation of the electronic e-voucher pilot project in 13 districts, Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Pamela Kabamba has said.
Last year, President Lungu launched the e-voucher system under the farmer input support programme (FISP) targeting small-scale farmers in 13 selected districts in the 2015/16 farming season.
Mrs Kabamba said out of the K241 million budget for the pilot project, only K193 million was absorbed enabling Government to save about K48 million.
Appearing before a Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture chaired by Rufunsa Member of Parliament Kenneth Chipungu last week, she said the complete roll-out of the e-voucher will help reduce the cost of providing inputs to farmers and further enable farmers’ to access inputs in time while Government will save on storage and transportation costs.
“In 2015, we had a budget of about K1.3 billion for FISP but instead we released K2.1 billion. From the [FISP payments], the treasury has been having some challenges with regards to execution. However, there have been strides that Government has made in making sure that the programme is done effectively,”
“One of them is the implementation of the e-voucher. As a treasury, we feel that they should be a complete roll-out of the e-voucher system to enable farmers to get their inputs from agro dealers who are based in different districts unlike what is happening under the tradition, way of doing the FISP where Government has to distribute the inputs,” Mrs Kabamba said.
Mrs Kabamba said the operation of the FISP has made the treasury to incur supplementary expenditure.
She said so far, the implementation of the e-voucher pilot project has proved to be an efficient way of reducing financial flows in the delivery of FISP although the implementation of the system was delayed.
Mrs Kabamba said the slow roll-out has had a hindrance in the realisation of potential savings that can be gained from the removal of transportation and storage costs.

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