By Lubinda Mwipihi
What should this Budget 2011 offer?
When the minister will be tabling the 2011 budget, we expect him to aim and to display transparently on how Zambians will benefit from government’s programmes and policies and how their tax contributions will be spent.
For the poor, the Budget should continue to expand by bringing bread and butter on the table, rural development, better community services and social assistance grants for the elderly, the disabled and children in need.
For workers, the Budget should emphasis on job creation and expenditure on the “social wage,” including access to health services, education, social security, transport and municipal infrastructure.
For the business sector, the Budget should expand investments in modernizing our infrastructure and transport logistics, accelerating further education and skills development and supporting research, technology and industrial investment.
For the small business sector, the target of financial and enterprise development programmes, and tax relief measures should be in place.
For the youth, government should expand access and financial assistance for further education, and a range of initiatives aimed at expanding job opportunities.
All of this, and more, must be done within a sound fiscal framework. The minister must also recognize that we are taking steps, this year and next, on a long-term growth path, a decades-long transformation and expansion of our social and economic possibilities.
As comrade Chris Hani so rightly said, “We want to build a nation free from hunger, disease and poverty, free from ignorance, homelessness and humiliation, a country in which there is peace, security and jobs.”
Macroeconomic stability in an uncertain world
The growth and transformation of financial markets in recent decades has seen increased volatility of exchange rates and capital flows. Global commodity markets now account for significant fluctuations in prices for our energy imports, mineral exports, and food supplies.
The macroeconomic environment facing Zambians – through interest rates, exchange rates, inflation, and credit conditions – can be destabilized by those international shocks. The macroeconomic policy task is to provide a stable and predictable economic environment by offsetting such shocks as far as possible.
Our monetary policy designed and conducted by Central Bank are to target and achieve the low rate of inflation and interest rates. Fiscal and monetary policy should continue to work in partnership. Monetary policy, operation by the Bank of Zambia, should continue to be focused on controlling inflation, and to ensure that fiscal policy is countercyclical within a sustainable long-term framework. Movements in the exchange rate affect different sectors of the economy in different ways, and present difficulties in macroeconomic policy for many countries.
Recognizing the impact of Zambian Kwacha strength on the manufacturing industry, in particular, the minister should announce measures to moderate the potential effect of capital inflows.
Foreign exchange regulations should be amended to permit greater foreign investment by Zambian institutions.
Step up foreign exchange purchases by the Central Bank will have partially offset upward pressures on the Kwacha.
We seriously expect job creation, zero fraud and a corrupt free government, low taxes, free education, Social sector development, infrastructure & governance.
While we appreciate all sectors in support, we expect the government to disburse amount of funds to boost agriculture. The poverty level in Zambia has riched the highest level such that only the rich can have bread and butter and afford the three meals per day.
Unemployment level is very high and alarming. We are like a nation on autopilot.
Fraud and corruption are elevated by scraping the Anti-Corruption Commission by our government. That will lead to a lot of things that has transpired during the past years. We saw and noticed that almost every report by the Auditors General has money misused. We also saw the:
Selling of Zamtel and purchasing by RP Capital
The removal of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC)
The Constitution is a key to every developing country like ours. The draft does not have our mandate as a people-driven constitution but the few selfish individuals. To have a sustainable and validity policy, we need to have a people’s constitution.
Social economic – This has fallen below par, from bad to worse. We have noted that we probably have some of the worst medical facilities/scheme hospitals in the world without taking into account the funds being misappropriated by the Ministry of Health. The National Mobile Health Services program hospital – Is that a tangible solution to Zambia’s health crisis? I leave it to you people to answer yourselves.
People need to have a low tax bracket. One may argue that: “where does government get the funds if low tax is to be implemented effectively”? A windfall tax abolished is a simple example. Where is the government getting the money from? We can exchange the two to ensure that we put money into the people’s pockets.
In conclusion, I repeat, with jobs comes dignity. With dignity comes participation. And from participation emerges prosperity for all.
“In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors, such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… It is perfectly understandable if many people exert themselves mainly to achieve all these. But internal factors may be even more crucial…Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul”,