FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda yesterday unveiled the 2014 National Budget of K42.68 billion with economic growth targeted above seven per cent.
Presenting the Budget to Parliament under the theme 'Moving Forward to Consolidate Growth and Social Justice in Peace and Unity', Mr Chikwanda said the Budget, representing 30.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), would be financed through domestic revenues of K29.54 billion.
Grant support from cooperating partners would be K2.63 billion while the balance of K10.51 billion would be financed through foreign and domestic borrowing.
The minister said the economic agenda that the Government had set for 2014 sought to translate macro-economic gains achieved so far into tangible benefits for the people.
"Mr Speaker, the PF Government has an unwavering commitment to fulfill its pledge to the nation that all Zambians benefit from the robust economic growth that this country has registered and is expected to continue experiencing over the medium term.
"Development will be brought closer to the people so that our vision of bringing transformational change to the lives of our people is no more rhetoric. This is even more important for us, in 2014 when Zambia will celebrate 50 years of independence," he said.
Mr Chikwanda said the 2014 Budget had been premised on key principles, starting with the imperative to reconfigure the country's expenditure profile towards growth-promoting sectors.
He said as Zambia prepared to commemorate its 50th Independence Anniversary, it was important to remember that its greatest strength was the peace and unity that had been its hallmark.
Mr Chikwanda said notwithstanding the challenging global economic environment, Zambia's GDP growth was projected to remain strong at six per cent.
"This is on account of favourable performance in the mining, construction, manufacturing, and transport and communication sectors.
"However, with the decline in agricultural output, this projected out-turn is lower than our budget forecast of above seven per cent," he said.
He said in 2013, monetary policy focused on achieving an end-year inflation of six per cent and that as at September this year, inflation remained above the target of seven per cent, following inflationary pressures, largely associated with the removal of fuel and maize subsidies.