Jesuit Scholars in Zambia Urge “a timely” Budgetary Material Publication after New Ranking

JCTR programs Manager, Muchimba Siamachoka at the October 6 Press Conference. Credit: JCTR

Following Zambia’s drop in the global ranking on budget accountability, Jesuit scholars in the Southern African nation are calling on the government to provide “a timely” online publication of budgetary materials.

The International Budget Partnership’s (IBP) 2021 Open Budget Survey (OBS) indicates that the Zambia’s budget accountability, particularly on transparency, decreased from 30/100 in 2019 to 19/100 in 2021. 

In a statement availed to ACI Africa Friday, October 7, officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) say the 2021 OBS score was largely informed by the decreased availability of budget information. 

The Jesuit scholars call on the Zambian government to “utilize the available opportunities to improve the country’s score in the next round of the survey through ongoing planning and budgeting processes.”

“Publish the Pre-Budget Statement, Citizens Budget, Mid-Year Review and In-Year Reports online in a timely manner,” JCTR officials say.


They add that the yellow book, which provides detailed budget allocations as proposed in the national budget also needs to be made available in softcopy, online.

Officials of the Lusaka-based research, education and advocacy Jesuit institution are also calling on the Zambian government to “include in the Year-End Report detailed actual outcomes for expenditures, comparisons between borrowing estimates and actual outcomes and comparisons between planned non-financial outcomes and actual outcomes.”

They further say that the government, through the ministry of Finance and National Planning, needs to “improve the comprehensiveness of the Enacted Budget.”

In their statement shared with ACI Africa, JCTR officials say Zambia recorded “a slight improvement” in the OBS scores relating to public participation and budget oversight. 

The public participation score moved from 20/100 in 2019 to 24/100 in 2021, while the budget oversight result rose from 46/100 in 2019 to 56/100 in 2021. 

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“These scores are still insufficient (ideal state is prescribed to be sufficient when falling between 61 and 100) and further limit meaningful participation of citizens throughout the budget process, not just formulation,” say the Jesuit scholars.

To strengthen public participation, the officials of the Jesuit institution say the government of Zambia needs to “expand mechanisms during budget implementation to engage any civil society organization or member of the public who wishes to participate.”

They add that the Zambian government needs to “actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.”

The IBP collaborates with Civil Society Organizations in 120 countries to assess the transparency, oversight and public participation in the nations. In Zambia, IBP works together with JCTR.

This story was first published by ACI Africa on 09 October 2022.


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.