Zambia: 'Office of First Lady Has Been Funded Before'

THE Office of the First Lady in Zambia has been receiving funds through the national Budget in the past, with last year's allocation standing at K1,368,362,627.

According to a summary expenditure report released in Lusaka yesterday, in 2010 the Government allocated K2,505,763,217.98 to that office.

In 2009, the Government allocated K1,443,170,521.50, while in 2008 the office received K493,408,200.00.

The report released by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations George Chellah showed that in 2007 K1,568,501,695 was allocated to the Office of the First Lady while in 2006 Government released K1,294,764,425.

Recently, United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema charged that Parliament's approval in the 2013 Budget of K1.5 billion allocated to the Office of the First Lady was illegal.

Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) chairperson Beatrice Grillo expressed similar sentiments.

"As far back as 2006 the Office of the First Lady has been funded under the estimates of revenue and expenditure, commonly referred to as the yellow book based on activities permitted by the Constitution using revenues of the Republic from the consolidated fund," Mr Chellah said.

He said the application of activity-based budgeting in Zambia had existed for several years now and that the reference to the Office of the First Lady was merely to enhance transparency unlike the way it had been in the past.

"We, therefore, reiterate that there is nothing illegitimate with this process given that the Government and State House in particular is being accountable and transparent in accordance with the promises made to the people through the PF manifesto," he said.

Mr Chellah regreted that a straightforward matter had been deliberately misconstrued.

He said the current First Lady, Christine Kaseba deserved commendation and not attacks for the selfless service she was rendering to the Zambian people.

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