The Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) has released a pre-budget press statement outlining their expectations for the 2024 National Budget, set to be presented by Finance Minister Hon. Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane on September 29, 2023. ZANEC, in collaboration with ActionAid TaxEd Alliance and the National Action for Quality Education in Zambia (NAQEZ), submitted their budget expectations to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in June 2023.
In a statement issued today on 29th September by ZANEC Executive Director Mr. George Hamusunga, One of ZANEC’s key expectations is the broadening of the skills development levy into an education levy to secure dedicated funding for the education sector. They also call for the revisitation of Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) through renegotiation, development, and publication of the DTA policy, with a focus on canceling harmful or outdated treaties. The coalition advocates for tax reforms that ensure multinational companies pay their fair share to boost revenue and address the annual loss of $635 million, according to the Tax Justice Network.
On the expenditure side, ZANEC urges an increase in the education budget share from the current 13.9% to at least 15% of the National Budget. They specifically request the allocation of 6% of the education budget for infrastructure development to build more secondary schools and boarding facilities. Additionally, ZANEC recommends investment in a digital real-time database for schools, increased vocational training for teachers and learners, and the recruitment and equipping of qualified teachers for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and life skills education.
Furthermore, ZANEC calls for the decentralization of the Higher Education, Loans, and Scholarship Board (HELSB) to improve access to information for rural learners and facilitate loan applications. They emphasize the need for increased funding for menstrual hygiene and the re-entry policy to encourage more girls to stay in school. Finally, ZANEC suggests that secondary school and skills development bursaries under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) be administered directly by the Ministry of Education, specifically the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) office, to ensure efficient resource allocation.
ZANEC’s pre-budget statement highlights their commitment to advancing education and skills development in Zambia through financial reforms and targeted investments in the sector