|File photo: Mutati---Let's be accountable for our choices, actions|
March 24 (Zambia Informer) ---- Zambia may probably need in excess of K75 million (US$750,000) in supplementary budget to offside damages to infrastructure and crops in the aftermath of the heavy rains that beset the country in recent months.
“Yes, we’ll need a supplementary budget in excess of K75 million to repair bridges and other infrastructure as well as offset the effects caused on the crops by the army worms and the red locusts,” says finance minister Felix Mutati of the US$6.5 billion projected for this year in expenditure.
Speaking during by the Civil Society Poverty Observatory Group (CSO-POG) in Lusaka on the theme: ‘the current state of the Zambian economy” in Lusaka, Friday, Mutati stated that Government will need extra resources to finance unforeseen developments that threatens the budgetary expenditure projections.
He has since called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to ensure that prudent management was prioritised.
Mutati implored various economic stakeholders to take up the responsibility of ensuring the economic recovery programme underway is not derailed through prudent management of resources that will further assist in overcoming the budget deficit that threatens to derail the envisioned growth that will ultimately meet the aspirations of the people.
While the Government seeks to engage the International Monetary Fund and compare notes on the fiscal management of the budget and economic realignment, it remains the obligation of all stakeholders to ensure choices and decisions made concerning the economic recovery programme is done collectively without leaving anyone behind.
According to recent rankings, Zambia is rated third largest IMF partner in Africa besides South Africa and Nigeria and should ensure it enjoys reputation by honouring its own initiative of mooting a ‘home grown initiative’ that will spur the country to prosperity.
”We are all in charge of our own destiny as a people as we have indicated in the 2017 national budget....we are the big boys, so let’s not allow ourselves to eat the crumbs instead of the main meal when we have an opportunity to determine our own destiny” Mutati added while reaffirming Government’s resolve not to borrow what it can’t pay.
Government will continue prudential financial management and utilisation to ensure it reduces and assist cure the escalating budget deficit, increase foreign exchange reserves to over US$3 billion and raise the import cover to three months or more noting that previous projections had failed because of lack of adherence to set budgetary execution measures.
However, Mutati says Zambia would prefer securing a non concessional loan at interest free rate unlike a commercial facility as this will give the country relief and assist Government to meet various external and internal obligations including debt servicing it secured from foreign creditors and the local private sector.