Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has proposed reallocating 7.2 billion Kwacha in a supplementary budget delivered to Parliament on Tuesday.
Mrs Mwanakatwe told Parliament that about 7 billion kwacha will come from reallocating resources and the remainder from “cooperating partners” and carry-over funds from the 2017 financial year.
She said of the total, 3.6 billion kwacha is for domestic and external debt obligations while 1.3 billion kwacha will be spent on completing infrastructure projects.
The Finance Minister stated that 2.3 billion Kwacha will cover shortfalls on government-support programs, by-elections and the recruitment of a further 3,700 medical personnel.
Meanwhile, National Planning and Development Minister Alexander Chiteme has said that the austerity measures being spearheaded by President Edgar Lungu, are not meant to punish his Ministers, but are part of a wider latitude of finding solutions to the governance and economic challenges facing the country.
Addressing diplomats and delegates to the ongoing High Level Political Forum at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations (UN), Mr Chiteme said while the austerity measures had affected Cabinet Ministers, he was happy that he is part of President Lungu’s efforts to find solutions to the country’s social and economic challenges.
Mr Chiteme is in New York to attend the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations under the theme: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.”
Mr Chiteme said the austerity measures were but the beginning of many other fiscal and thrift measures Government is to undertake to ameliorate the social and economic benefits for Zambians.
He said the measures that have seen Ministers have their perks slashed significantly will see a reduction in expenditure which has been a drain on the national budget.
“Government under His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has introduced austerity measures which has affected Ministers. But I must say that I am glad to be part of the solution to the country’s social and economic challenges. The austerity measures will see a reduction in expenditure. We are trying, as the Government that the austerity measures will have to trickle down,” Mr Chiteme said.