Parliament has approved K14.9 billion in supplementary estimates covering the financial year 2015.
The supplementary estimates were approved after 107 Members of Parliament voted in favour against 40 who voted against the estimates with one member abstaining.
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who presented the supplementary estimates told Parliament that there have been significant movements in some of the fundamental macroeconomic variables that have negatively affected the country’s fiscal position.
He says the depreciation of the Kwacha against major currencies also meant that government had to spend more than the budgeted amount on items such as debt service, drugs and other goods and services that are acquired using the foreign currency.
Mr. Chikwanda states that the adverse performance of the Kwacha also led to significant shortfalls in the refinancing of fuel importation which resulted into additional pressures on the budget.
He adds that the unfavorable weather pattern that has been experienced in the last two years has left the country with an unprecedented shortfall in the supply of electricity, necessitating the importation of emergency electricity at a relatively high cost.
Mr. Chikwanda says a supplementary provision is therefore required to cover the cost for the importation of electricity.
Meanwhile, Government owed mining companies K5.25 billion in VAT refunds as at 8th December, 2015.
Finance Deputy Minister Christopher Mvunga has told Parliament in response to a question by Mazabuka Member of Parliament that among the mining companies owed is Kansanshi Mine plc which is owed K1.89 billion, KCM which is owed K1.24 billion and Mopani Copper Mines K1.69 billion.
Mr. Mvunga says the amounts owed to the mining companies are being paid as and when the tax payers provide the necessary documentation evidence for VAT claims.
He says ZRA is still awaiting documentation from all the mining companies with outstanding VAT claims that have been withheld.