Government of Zambia Unveils Green Paper on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Budget Plan

The Zambian Ministry of Finance and National Planning has taken a significant step in unveiling the Green Paper on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Budget Plan (MTBP), a crucial document that outlines the government’s macroeconomic and fiscal policies for the medium-term. The release of the Green Paper aligns with section 37 of the National Planning and Budgeting Act No. 1 of 2020 and aims to provide comprehensive insights into the government’s plans for economic development and sustainability over the next three years.

Zambia’s economic landscape has shown signs of growing confidence, primarily attributed to the strides made in restructuring the country’s external debt and the implementation of measures to restore macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability. This positive momentum has created a promising opportunity for the Zambian government to transform its economy, build resilience, protect vulnerable communities, and tackle pressing challenges like climate change and global pandemics.

The Green Paper outlines several key interventions that the government plans to focus on in its pursuit of economic transformation and sustainable growth. These critical areas include:

  1. Comprehensive Agricultural Transformation Support Programme (CATSP): The full-scale implementation of the CATSP is at the forefront of the government’s plans. This strategic move aims to leverage Zambia’s comparative advantage in agriculture, fostering growth and diversification in the economy.
  2. Diversification: To reduce reliance on a single sector, the government seeks to diversify the economy by adding value to key sectors such as mining, manufacturing, and tourism. The emphasis on value addition is expected to stimulate production and enhance productivity across industries.
  3. Efficiency and Digitization: The government recognizes the importance of efficiency both in the public sector and the broader economy. Consequently, a strong emphasis will be placed on accelerating digitization efforts to streamline processes and promote technological advancement.
  4. Citizen Participation: The Green Paper underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing public service delivery and involving citizens in governance and development decisions. Decentralization of governance is a key strategy to prioritize the needs and concerns of the people.
  5. Social Inclusion: The government aims to prioritize vulnerable segments of the population by mainstreaming gender, child, elderly, and disability issues into its policies and strategies. Ensuring inclusivity and equitable growth is a fundamental principle of the MTBP.

In terms of economic projections, the MTBP sets an ambitious target for the medium term. The government foresees an average annual economic growth rate of 4.7 percent. Specifically, growth rates of 8.0 percent, 4.3 percent, and 5.0 percent are anticipated for the years 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. These projections are underpinned by the ongoing implementation of the country’s development reform agenda as outlined in the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) and the concerted efforts by the government and its creditors to restructure Zambia’s external debt.

As the government works diligently to prepare the 2024 National Budget, the Green Paper serves as an invaluable consultative document. It invites feedback, recommendations, and contributions from various stakeholders, including citizens, the private sector, civil society, and development partners. All interested parties are encouraged to actively participate in the policy refinement process and help shape the fiscal priorities of the government over the medium term. The submission of comments on the Green Paper is open until Friday, August 2023.

The MTBP Green Paper emphasizes the government’s commitment to fostering sustainable economic growth, job creation, human and social development, environmental sustainability, and good governance. It serves as a crucial guide in formulating policies that align with the country’s vision and strategic development areas outlined in the 8NDP.

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