Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has disclosed that the 2015 budget deficit has ballooned from a projected K 8.5 billion to a staggering K 20 billion in the first six months of the year.
Mr Chikwanda has blamed the widened budget deficit to a slowdown in government revenue mainly due to reduced copper earnings and some unbudgeted for expenditure such as the January 20 presidential election.
He also revealed that Government has since revised the targeted end year GDP growth rates of at least seven percent to 5.8 percent.
Mr Chikwanda was speaking in Parliament Tuesday afternoon when he delivered a midyear budget review.
The Finance Minister stated that the 2015 budget came under pressure from the payments of K 1.3 billion road sector arrears and an additional K376 million which went to financing Maize purchasing.
He added that a further K 148 million was used for the Kafue Bulk Water Supply Project and payment for fuel arrears amounting to K3.2 billion including K 163 million used to finance the presidential election.
Mr Chikwanda said the unbudgeted for expenses have now taken the total expenditure by 13.43 billion kwacha beyond the budget.
He said the revision in the economic growth is also due to lower maize output following a fall output of maize and other cash crops.
The Finance Minister has since announced that he will seek Parliamentary approval to raise the external debt ceiling from K 35 billion to K 60 billion.
He also disclosed that he will seek further external borrowing to complete the remaining infrastructure projects.
Mr Chikwanda also announced that he has approved the establishment of a Loan Sinking Fund for purposes of paying back the two Eurobonds.