The government says the 2020 National Budget has underperformed largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu said subdued economic activities resulting in revenues and grants projected to close at K65.9 billion below the target of K75 billion.
Presenting the proposed 2021 national budget in parliament today, Dr Ng’andu noted that total expenditure amounted to K72.1 billion below the target of K99 billion due to underperformance of revenues and disbursements on foreign financed projects.
Dr Ng’andu pointed out that imports of goods declined in the first half to US$2.3 billion from US$3.3 billion compared to the same period in 2019.
He attributed the decline in imports to depreciation of the kwacha and supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Ng’andu noted that while copper production increased to 523,000 metric tonnes from 449,000, copper export earnings were lower at US$2.3 billion compared to US$2.7 billion.
The minister stated that exports in the first half of 2020 declined to US$762.4 million from US$929.5 million compared to 2019 in the same period.
Dr Ngandu also said the country’s gross international reserves declined to US$1.38 billion from US$1.45 billion at the end of December 2019.
He noted that the kwacha depreciated to K19.95 against the US dollar as at September 22, 2020 from K14.05 as at end of December 2019.