14 December 2012

Zambia: Parly Approves K32.2 Trillion 2013 National Budget

PARLIAMENT on Wednesday night approved the K32.2 trillion national Budget for 2013 and adjourned sine die.

The document, which marks the first Patriotic Front (PF) Government budget, was unanimously approved by members of Parliament (MPs) around 23:00 hours after a heated debate.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has since assured Zambians and cooperating partners that the Government would use public resources prudently to unlock the country's economic potential.

In October, Mr Chikwanda presented to Parliament K32.2 trillion for the 2013 national Budget, while the 2012 estimates of revenue and expenditure stood at K27.6 trillion, whose spending ends on December 31, this year.

In the 2013 Budget, K24.7 trillion, or 76.6 per cent of the total expenditure, would be financed locally, while grants from cooperating partners would account for K1.5 trillion.

The remaining K5.6 trillion, or 18.4 per cent of the expenditure, would be raised through domestic and external loans.

Mr Chikwanda said out of K32.2 trillion, economic affairs would get the single biggest chunk of K8.9 trillion, about 27.6 per cent, followed by general public services, which got K8.4 trillion, or 26.2 per cent of the total Budget.

The Government has allocated K5.6 trillion, or 17.6 per cent, to the education sector compared to K4.8 billion in 2012. Health would gobble up K3.6 trillion, which stood at K2.5 trillion in the 2012 Budget.

Agriculture has been allocated K1.9 trillion compared to K1.6 trillion in the 2012 Budget.

The rest of the allocations are: housing and community amenities K1 trillion; social protection K892.2 billion; recreation, culture and religion K252.3 billion; and environmental protection K74.2 billion.

During debate, opposition MPs called on the Government to successfully implement all budgetary policies.

Vice-President Guy Scott moved a motion to adjourn the House sine die and thanked the parliamentarians for their continued contribution to debates in the House.

"Mr Speaker, we shall do what we can, of course with support from various stakeholders and we are hopeful this Budget will be far much better than the 2012," Dr Scott said.

United Party for National Development Bweengwa MP Higvie Hamududu urged the Government to utilise the Sixth National Development Plan to stimulate development.

MMD Solwezi Central MP Lucky Mulusa said Zambians were expectant of the PF-crafted national Budget and that it was important for the Government to deliver development projects.

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