The Policy Monitoring and Research Center (PMRC) says the proposed 2019 National budget by Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe has addressed key issues.
PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Deka said most of its budgetary expectations have been addressed in the proposed national budget.
She was speaking to Journalists shortly after Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe presented the 2019 national budget in Parliament today.
Ms Deka said the increase in the funding allocation to the social protection sector is a true reflection of the Patriotic Front Party (PF) manifesto which places an emphases on uplifting the living standards of people.
Ms.Deka cited the increased allocation to the social protection programmes and the agriculture sector among the sectors that have been given the much needed attention.
“As a think tank we are happy that our expectations have been met by today’s budget address. We are happy with the increase in allocation in the social protection and agriculture sectors. This really stands to show that this is a pro-poor government that has remained true to its words,” she said
Ms Deka further said the proposed allocation to the social protection sector will be a face lift to various programmes being undertaken.
Government has this year allocated K699.5 million to the social protection programmes from last year’s K550 million plus a grant of K110.9 million to all social protection programmes.
The Agriculture sector has been allocated K5.4 billion which also caters for the Livestock and fisheries.
Earlier, Minister of Finance, Margaret Mwanakatwe presented K86.8 billion for 2019 national budget which translates into 28.9 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ms Mwanakatwe says the budget has been formulated against the backdrop of the austerity measures being implemented by government to deliver fiscal consolidation.
She stated that the budget provides a firm foundation for the country to return moderate debt levels, entrench overall macroeconomic stability and promote sustained and inclusive growth.
She added that the budget proposes a bold and substantial changes in revenue mobilisation and spending strategies in support of the country’s goal for fiscal consolidation.
Ms. Mwanakatwe stressed that the proposed measures will ensure that domestic revenue as a proportion of GDP increases to 18.7 percent from 17.7 percent in 2018.
She pointed out that on the expenditure side, government will rationalise current expenditures within the context of the announced austerity measures.
Meanwhile, Ms. Mwanakatwe has noted that the 2019 budget aims at achieving a fiscal deficit of not more than 6.5 percent of GDP from the projected 7.4 percent in 2018.