President Hakainde Hichilema, on Friday, 17th September, 2021, chaired his first (Special) Cabinet Meeting at State House to deliberate on the Budget Policy Concept Paper on the 2022-2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2022 National Budget.
During the Meeting, Cabinet approved the Concept Paper which gives the strategic policy direction, macro-economic and fiscal objectives as well as targets for the 2022-2024 MTEF and the 2022 National Budget as outlined in the official opening address of the First Session of the 13th National Assembly by the President.
Cabinet approved the 2022 Budget framework which will focus on restoring economic growth and safeguarding livelihoods for a prosperous and equitable Zambia through Economic Transformation and Job Creation, Human and Social Development, Environmental Sustainability and Good Governance Environment, and that all policies and interventions shall be in line with the broader strategic focus areas to be articulated in the 8th National Development Plan.
Under Macroeconomic Framework, Cabinet approved that the MTEF and the 2022 Budget should aim to attain growth in GDP, reduce and sustain inflation, raise international reserves, increase domestic revenue, reduce the fiscal deficit, significantly dismantle domestic arrears and curtail accumulation, reduce the pace of debt accumulation and ensure sustainability, and overall, accelerate the diversification of the economy.
The emphasis is to grow the economy in order to create more jobs and generate wealth as key to turning around the economy. Cabinet also agreed that under the Fiscal Framework, Government shall focus on revenue mobilisation and broadening of the tax base, removing distortions, streamlining tax incentives and rationalizing concessions.
Cabinet also approved to enhance public expenditure rationalization, prudence and discipline through the strengthening of public finance laws and regulations that ensure credible, transparent and accountable spending decisions, safeguard public expenditure on pro-poor programmes by enhancing budgetary spending on sectors such as education, health and social protection, including addressing the plight of pensioners.
With regard to Revenue Measures, Cabinet approved that the budget implementation should involve improving efficiency in the collection of fees and fines by ensuring full roll-out of the Government Service Bus (GSB) digital platform, and exploiting the Information Technology advancements in order to modernise and strengthen the capacity of revenue administration thereby easing both administrative and compliance costs.
In conclusion, Cabinet approved that the Minister of Finance and National Planning, should engage with various stakeholders in drafting the 2022 National Budget in order to ensure that the Budget responds to the needs of the Zambian people and should also be based on the vision of the New Dawn administration, putting the Zambian people first.