The government says it has released K6.73 billion for the month of May to finance developmental and other public service delivery programs in the country.
Ministry of Finance Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba disclosed that debt service and dismantling of arrears received the highest lump sum of K2.86 billion while infrastructure programs and rural electrification received the least amount of over K311 million.
“Of this amount, K604.92 million went towards transfers, subsidies, and social benefits, K311.13 million was channeled to infrastructure programs and rural electrification, while other developmental projects, programs, and general operations received K677.39 million in total.
“ The Government also spent K2.86 billion on debt service and dismantling of arrears. Further, a sum of K2.28 billion went towards the public service wage bill. A sum of K223.15 million from cooperating partners went towards supporting developmental programs in various sectors,” Mr. Yamba revealed.
In a statement by Ministry of Finance Public Relations Manager Chileshe Kandeta, Mr. Yamba indicated that the release of funds to recipient Ministries, Provinces, and Agencies came against a backdrop of competing demands and constrained revenue inflows caused by the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), among other challenges such as climate change.
He has therefore assured that prudent utilization of resources will be closely monitored and evaluated by the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Auditor-General through tightened controls in the application and management of public resources while scrutinizing the implementation of austerity measures so as to meet fiscal consolidation targets.
“The worldwide economic downturn triggered on the domestic front by severe drought in the 2018/2019 farming season, floods in the 2019/2020 season and the ravaging effects of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, have been the biggest disrupters to the livelihoods of citizens, the well-being of the local production chain, and the performance of domestic revenue sources. Resources are now scarce.
“ Nevertheless, our resolve to ensure that Ministries Provinces and Agencies continue to prudently utilize resources has been strengthened by the instruction of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Dr. Edgar Lungu that the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Auditor-General should further tighten controls in the application and management of public resources,” he pointed out.
Mr. Yamba indicated that the measures will advance the country’s developmental programs while positively influencing the well-being of all Zambians through sustained resource supply to various social sector programs.
He added that with the reduction of revenue inflows, his Ministry has embarked on a process of reviewing the 2020 budget to adjust planned expenditure in line with the revised revenue projections stating that social spending will be a priority.
He has thanked cooperating partners for continuing to stand with the country during the difficult period for the world’s health and economic sectors, assuring exchange of information on policy choices that are being pursued in dealing with fiscal challenges, public debt, and other macro-economic issues key to the country’s economic stabilization and recovery beyond the Covid-19 era.
Mr. Yamba appealed to the development partners to continue with their support especially with programs targeted at health, education, social security, youth and women empowerment, and private sector development and growth.