The Public Finance Management System Expansion project is now on the home stretch. The expansion of the current PFMS is part of a raft of public finance reforms under the umbrella Public Finance Management Enhancement Project (PFMEP). The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) is spearheading the reforms with support from its Development Partners under Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund. The project has accelerated several activities of the PFMS expansion project after the relaxation of the Covid 19 induced lockdown declared in March 2020. Other activities have also been running concurrently to compensate for the valuable time lost during the lockdown period.
Various project activities continue to gain momentum because of availed virtual communication platforms and remote connectivity to the Public Finance Management System (PFMS). The devastating effects of the Covid 19 pandemic seem to be relenting and slowing down much to the advantage of the PFMEP project. Both new infections and deaths from the pandemic are on a satisfactory downward trajectory. Resultantly, the Government of Zimbabwe continues to ease lockdown regulations allowing project members to execute project activities unabated. This is some great news for the PFMEP as the deadline draws nearer by each passing day. It is interesting to note that activities that require travelling and physical interaction have benefited the most from the aforementioned relaxation of Covid 19 induced lockdown and the relief coming with the containment and pushing back of the deadly pandemic.
It is worthwhile to note the following key project activities that have gained momentum and been accomplished after the relaxation of Covid 19 induced lockdown and the subsequent gradual opening of previously closed work spaces:
- The Training of Super Users for the Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC), Business Intelligence (BI) and Web Portal. This critical knowledge transferring process commenced on the 27th of October 2020. The major emphasis is to equip the super users to be able to impart knowledge to all end users across all government entities and to all Kiosk (district) level users. The 16th of November 2020 is the set Go Live date for these new functionalities.
- The delivery and installation of all equipment for Phase 2 and phase 3 of Kiosks implementations by the service provider Africom. The service provider has delivered equipment that include desks, computers and printers for the remaining forty-two (42) district kiosks. This is a great achievement for the project as this entails accessibility of the PFMS system across the breath and lengthy of Zimbabwe.
- Government of Zimbabwe teams have also been following the heels of the Africom teams doing the installations to conduct operational acceptance of the installed equipment at the said kiosks. This is a critical process meant to ensure that installed equipment conforms to the set requirements and specifications of the Zimbabwean Government. Progress in the operational acceptance is satisfactory and completion is set for mid-November 2020.
- Usage of the completed ZIMRA Interface continues to rise as it continues to increase with each passing day.
- Implementation work on the RBZ/PFMS Interface is now at an advanced stage. This involves building an information exchange platform between RBZ and the PFMS system. This project activity stands at 86% completion.
In Conclusion, it is imperative to note that the project is nearing its completion date. The project team remains committed to complete all outstanding activities before the 31 December 2020 project closure date. The team has commendably accelerated project activities to recover all time lost during the Covid 19 pandemic induced lockdowns. Activities initially curtailed and subdued by the lockdown have recorded commendable progress in the period under review. Training of new functionalities has been successful while the operationalization of remaining district kiosks is now at an advanced stage. The Government of Zimbabwe and its donor partners have remained focused on delivering the project despite a plethora of daunting challenges. The project team from Government of Zimbabwe and all service providers has also remained resolute and committed at a time when their counterparts were on a Covid 19 provided sabbatical.