Finance Minister Felix Mutati says government is doing its best to ensure that the stock of domestic arrears is dismantled.
Mr Mutati said this in relation to the K2.1 billion which has been released by the Treasury between December, 2016 and January 2017 targeted at domestic arrears.
And Government has today released K200 million for the 2016/2017 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
This brings the total releases to the current seasons FISP to K800 million.
“The money locked in domestic arrears belongs to our people some of whom manage Micro, Small, or Medium Enterprises. We are committed to pay them,” he said, further adding that, “the government is working hard to ensure that these arrears are dismantled as and when the resource-envelop and competing demands allow.”
“We are putting in place systems to instill fiscal prudence and promote budget credibility by only financing programmed activities so that our fiscal objectives for the 2017 budget, the medium term expenditure framework and long-term development plans are met accordingly,” assured the Minister on government’s commitment to improve the handling of public resources, which this year will include revision of the Public Finance Act and enactment of the Planning and Budgeting Bill.
And Mr. Mutati has said the K200 million release for the 2016/2017 FISP will held to bring the economic diversification programme, through agriculture development, on track.
Of the K2.1 billion funds released by the Treasury between December 2016 and January, 2017, K701 million went to infrastructure related programs. Under this category, the Ministry of Higher Education got K70 million, Ministry of Local Government was given K70 million for water, sanitation, markets and bus stations, Ministry of General Education got K70 million, and Ministry of Health K76 million.
Others who received funds to dismantle arrears include the National Road Fund Agency which got K300 million for roads, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing which was given K90 million for infrastructure in the new districts, and the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) which received K25 million to settle arrears related to construction of an electricity substation.
K615 million was released for agriculture related programs.This included K400 million for the Farmer Input Support Programme [FISP] for arrears which accrued in the 2015/2016 season, and a further K190 million for arrears under the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
Other arrears targeted include an allocation of K80 million given to the Public Service Pensions Fund for pensioners, K69 million to the Electoral Commission of Zambia for reduction of arrears related to the 2016 general elections, K50.2 million for reduction of arrears for electricity imports, and K300 million to PTA Bank for fuel import arrears.