K11.6 BILLION RELEASED FOR DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAMMES, PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY, DEBT SERVICE, ARREARS & WAGES
In November, 2023, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning released K11.6 billion to finance developmental programmes, public service delivery, debt service and wages. Of this amount, K2.6 billion was released for transfers, subsidies and social benefits, K874.3 million for implementation of developmental programmes and general operations, and K998.9 million for capital expenditure. Furthermore, K3.9 billion was released for the public service wage bill, while K3.3 billion went towards payment of both domestic and external debt.
As indicated above, K2.6 billion was released for transfers and subsidies, of which:
1) K941.4 million was for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Out of this, K795.5 million went to Community Development Projects and K145.8 million to Youth and Women Empowerment Programmes;
2) K395.2 million, Social Cash Transfer;
3) K278.1 million for the operations of Public Hospitals and Grant Aided Institutions (GAIs);
4) K16.2 million to the Public Service Pension Funds as funding gap and operation grant;
5) K115.1 million for operation of public universities and student loans and scholarships. Next year, the allocation for Higher Education Loan Student Board will be increased to ensure that MORE vulnerable students are supported with loans and meal allowances under the scheme – See Budget Speech: https://www.mofnp.gov.zm/?wpdmpro=2024-budget-speech;
6) K111.6 million to the Local Government Equalization Fund; and,
7) K315.6 million as grant to ZRA to support operations and resource mobilisation.
In addition, K450 million was released for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). We will continue to assert the agriculture sector as a key driver of our economy, therefore, the sector will receive our sustained support to increase productivity, enhance value addition, and strengthen market linkages.
Through the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP), services such as extension support, access to finance, irrigation development, support to value addition, and storage and logistics, will be encompassed.
K874.3 million to facilitate implementation of programmes and other general operations under various government institutions, was also released in November, 2023. Furthermore, a sum of K998.9 million was released for capital expenditure. Notable items under this category include the K385.7 million for road infrastructure and K613.2 million which was disbursed for various projects in Ministries, Provinces and Agencies.
In line with the Government’s commitment to reduce indebtedness and attain sustainability, a sum of K3.3 billion was released last month for payment of both domestic and external debt obligations. We take this opportunity to reiterate that in 2024, domestic and external financing will be mobilised in accordance with the Annual Borrowing Plan approved by Parliament. This will help us close the financing gap in the coming Budget and facilitate implementation of various programmes and projects which we would not be able to implement from general revenues alone.
Related to wages (personal emoluments) for public service workers, the Government spent a total of K3.9 billion in the month under review. Gladly, we have continued to ensure that wages are timely paid. The total monthly figure will increase next year when we recruit 10,400 additional public service workers in an effort to improve staffing levels in needy sectors. 5,400 will be recruited in the education sector, among whom 4,200 will be teachers and 1,200 non-teaching staff. The Government will also recruit 4,000 health personnel. The remaining 1,000 employees will be recruited across other sectors.
Despite the achievements being recorded, we remain aware of lagging challenges related to the pace of job creation, cost of living, and infrastructure development. We are also alive to challenges such as the high cost of living and are working towards addressing the issue through multi-sectoral economic transformation programmes with the methodical zeal and commitment.
We are confident that small-scale businesses will continue to be busy as the Government keeps pace with their needed support, through various empowerment programmes. From the agriculture sector, jobs and value chain opportunities will arise as we produce food for ourselves and export the surplus to neighbouring countries and the rest of the world.
Finally, we encourage fellow citizens to take up business opportunities through constituency level support programmes and the country-wide empowerment programmes under different Ministries. As we grow local businesses, we are also embracing growth opportunities through Foreign Direct Investments and Public Private Partnerships. We appeal to fellow public officials ensure that as a team, we continue to efficient, transparent and quick in facilitating private sector investments.
Ministry of Finance and National Planning