The Public Finance Management Enhancement Project (PFMEP) that seeks to transform and expand the current PFMS system under Component 1 is back on track albeit at a considerable slow pace. The project had gained full momentum and traction by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
However, the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic at the end of the first quarter radically changed the implementation impetus of the entire PFMEP project. The Covid-19 induced lockdown declared by President E.D Mnangagwa on the 30th of March 2020 ostensibly resulted in the slowing down of critical project activities or even a complete halt in some given circumstances. The major setbacks for the project resulting from the indefinite lockdown include the following:
- All Government employees (Users), service providers, consultants were asked to stay at home and this adversely affected all project activities that required all these stakeholders to access government premises and systems.
- The non-availability of remote access to the PFMS system to all users meant that all system-based deliverables for all stakeholders were put on hold especially during the complete lockdown.
- Although, the lockdown has now been eased, working hours are still restricted as part of the continued measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. This still poses a major threat to deliverables as project stakeholders’ time and effort input remains curtailed and limited.
Despite all the setbacks for the project and all the ravaging effects of the global Covid 19 pandemic, the Government of Zimbabwe and the development partners for the project have set the 31st of December 2020 as the new official deadline for the PFMEP project.
The notable accomplishments for the project since the last PFMEP project brief in March 2020 include the following:
- The availing of PFMS system remote connectivity to system users. A NetOne contract to operationalise the remote access has been signed by all parties and PFMS and MICT teams are now working with NetOne to expedite the user connections.
- The commencement of the critical interface between the PFMS system and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
- The completion of installation of air conditioner (AC) units at fifty-nine (59) district level kiosks and three (3) training centres. This represents a ninety (90) percent completion rate for this deliverable.
- Africom continues to provide various goods and services for the 57 district level kiosks with the installation of Phase 1 district kiosks now complete.
- The resumption of Operational Acceptance of Phase 1 Kiosks on the 24th of June 2020. Kiosks in Zvimba, Chegutu, Seke and Shamva have now been completed.
In Conclusion, it is imperative to note that the implementation of the project has faced daunting and unprecedented challenges in the second quarter of 2020. The global Covid 19 pandemic requires new ways of working and the circumvention of project challenges. The good news for the PFMEP project is that all key project activities have resumed and will soon be running at full throttle. Considerable progress has been noted in critical deliverables and there is every reason to believe again in a successful implementation. The Government of Zimbabwe and all its key partners have also remained steadfast in their objective of delivering the project by 31st December 2020.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ZIMBABWE RECONSTRUCTION FUND
8 JULY 2020