The Ministry of Finance and National Planning in Zambia has announced the release of K12.7 billion for various crucial sectors, including developmental programs, public service delivery, debt servicing, arrears, and wages.
The funds, disbursed in October 2023, aim to bolster the country’s economic growth and address key challenges.
Of the total amount released, K2.8 billion was allocated for transfers, subsidies, and social benefits. This includes K513.7 million for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), with specific allocations for secondary schools and skills development bursaries, as well as youth and women empowerment.
Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane assured the nation that outstanding CDF balances would be fully disbursed before the end of 2023.
Dr. Musokotwane noted that another significant portion, K537.9 million, was released as grants to support Zambia’s free education policy in public schools.
He said that the government aims to continue providing free education by covering school fees for all learners at early childhood, primary, and secondary education levels in the coming year.
The funds also include K2.2 billion for debt servicing, covering both domestic and external debts, including arrears. The government is keen on reducing indebtedness and ensuring fiscal sustainability, he noted.
Dr. Musokotwane added that K2 billion was spent on the implementation of various government programs and general operations, with an extra K2 billion dedicated to capital expenditure.
This includes allocations for projects in Ministries, Provinces, and Agencies, road infrastructure, water and sanitation, and the Rural Electrification Programme.
Dr. Musokotwane said that the public service wage bill received a substantial allocation of K3.7 billion, emphasizing the government’s commitment to timely payment of wages.
He also noted that the plans for next year include recruiting an additional 10,400 public service workers, with a focus on the education and health sectors to improve staffing levels.
He emphasized that the government is also taking steps to address challenges faced by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by releasing K268 million towards dismantling arrears owed to suppliers of goods and services.
The Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission and various empowerment initiatives will receive a total allocation of K1.4 billion in 2024.
Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane highlighted the government’s dedication to economic transformation and sustainable fiscal space, emphasizing that the budget will steer the economy towards growth and prosperity.
He said that the government remains focused on addressing citizens’ concerns and challenges while pursuing national development aspirations.