Social production and national development planning


(continued from last week)

By Dr.Kashiwa Bulaya


The Science of Planning the Economy Deliberate planning of the economy does not in any way mean that planners may act as they think fit, or set up any proportions and tasks they wish. They adapt their actions to the demands of objective economic laws. The efficiency of planning depends to a larger extent on the ability to comprehend the mechanism of economic laws. Thus, the science of planning the economy, being one of the branches of economic sciences, studies concrete ways and means of applying the economic laws when preparing national economic plans. Planning allows the demands of economic laws to be translated into the language of planning decisions. The science of economic planning is closely tied to other economic sciences such as statistics, accountancy, finance etc. With the growth in scale of production, increased complexity of its structure productive economic ties and the expansion of the field of action of the planned proportional development, economic planning has become more and more complicated. Therefore, great attention should be paid to questions of development of the theory of economic planning, of the improvement of methodology and organisation of planning and improvement of economic mechanism for the development of the economy. Cognition and utilisation of the objective economic laws is essential, if the plans are to be realistic and scientifically based. At the same time, awareness of the determining role of the objective laws does not negate the effect of the subjective factors (politics, ideology, morals, social and individual psychology). If account is taken of these in planning, the plans are more realistic and have a more active role. Planning is applied to both material production (Industry, agriculture, transport and communications, infrastructure, trade, procurement, material and technical supplies etc.) and to the non-productive sphere (education, health service, culture, sport, municipal amenities, administration and defence). The basics of the system of planning is the general Government plan for economic and social development, i.e. in the elaboration, adoption and implementation of planning decisions, the entire national economy is considered as a single whole. Sectoral and regional or provincial planning, as well as planning  within individual production organisations and establishments are integral parts of the planning system. Systematic planning as a characteristic feature of socio-economic development manifests itself in the setting up and maintenance by society a constant balance between social demand and production. Planning implies proportionality, the balancing of the main economic resources and their distribution on the scale of the whole society. Systematic planning is the conscious maintenance of proportions throughout society. Planning expresses the objective necessity of organsing production on the scale of the whole society according to a unified Government plan. Systematic planning in form of state planning ensures the continous, steady growth of production and a constant improvement in the living standards of the population. Systematic planning is achieved through: consciously taking into account public needs when drawing up plans for economic and social development; distribution of production resources between and among economic sectors and provinces; conscious control of the process of forming the most important national economic ratios; and a widespread attraction of the workers to the drawing up and fulfilment of the plans. Principles of Development Planning Development planning should be based on the knowledge of and conscious utilisation of the objective laws of economic and social development. Some of the principles of planning include: scientific approach, democratic centralism, mandatory character of plans, combination of sectoral and provincial or regional planning, co-ordination of long-term plans with annual development plans, proportional development of the economy on the basis of comprehensive approach and determination of the main sections of the plan to name but just few principles. Scientific Approach The principle of scientific approach to planning expresses above all the necessity of taking into account the demands of objective economic laws in the activity of planning. This principle also signifies the necessity for a thorough scientific basis of all the indicators of the plan. In planning it is essential to take into account the latest achievements of science and technology and the use of contemporary economic and mathematical methods and computer technology. The scientific grounding of plans demands a careful consideration of public demands and productive resources, together with the trends of scientific and technological revolution and the possibilities of implementing them in production. The main attention at all levels of planning is paid to the question of the rational and efficient utilisation of resources. In plans a consistent line is taken towards the achievement of the greatest results. The solution of this problem is reflected by the whole system of plan indicators, such as growth in the productivity of labour, the dynamics of the input-output ratio, and economy in the use of material resources. Democratic decentralism The principle of democratic centralism reflects the dialectical unity of true democracy in planning and of centralism-discipline to implement plans. Democracy of planning shows itself in the wide participation of the nation in the preparation and fulfilment of economic and social development plan. During his tour of duty to Muchinga Province in July, 2016 His Excellency Mr.Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia announced to the residents of Mpika district that his Government would split Mpika into three districts. President Lungu requested the people of Mpika district to discuss the matter and make an input into the location, boundaries etc of the new districts to be created once the current Mpika district was “unbundled” into three (3) districts. The President reminded the people of Mpika district and the nation at large that Mpika district was larger in territorial size than the whole of Copperbelt Province. To enhance development and delivery of social services, it was necessary to create three (3) districts in the area. The Presidential directive to involve the residents of Mpika district in the splitting of Mpika into three (3) districts is a clear example of democracy at work-democratic centralism in planning and taking development to the people by involving the residents in such plans. President Lungu also directed the people of Lunte Constituency in Mporokoso district to “sit” down and contribute to the creation of Lunte district from Mporokoso district. The President gave the directive during his tour of duty to Northern Province in July, 2016 which took him to several districts and Constituencies, including Lunte Constituency. In January, 2015 President Lungu informed the people of Senga Hill that his administration wanted to make Senga Hill a stand-alone district from Mbala district. President Lungu again demanded the involvement of people from Senga Hill in the creation of the new district. That is how the principle of democratic centralism works in planning. Centralism ensures the subordination of the plans to the general interests of the people through their Government, the subordination of the lower organs to the higher, the mandatory character of the planning decisions of the higher organs over the lower in the observation of planning discipline and the fulfilment of the plans. Centralism in planning shows itself similarly in the leading role of the unified Government plan to which are subordinated the development plans of separate ministries, parastatals, sectors, provinces and districts. Centralism in planning has nothing in common with bureaucracy because it is combined with true democracy. Mandatory Character of Development Plans The principle of the mandatory character of development plans means the obligation of fulfilling the national plan for all Government Ministries, Institutions, economic organs, parastatals etc. in the country. Specificity in planning is shown by the fact that indicators and targets of the plan are addressed to the specific executors. Mandatory tasks are passed on by the Central organs of Government to the relevant Ministries and Provinces for implementation.