SECRETARY to the Treasury Fredson Yamba has announced that K5.2 billion of the K8 billion COVID Bond has so far been issued through the Bank of Zambia.
And Yamba has disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has released K30 million to clear arrears for ex-employees of TAZARA, ZAMTEL and former Railway Systems of Zambia.
In a statement, Sunday, Yamba stated that some of the funds to be raised from the COVID-19 bond would be used to pay off the retirees and those on the separatees payroll who had been waiting for their benefits for a long time.
“I take this opportunity to announce that we have started the process of acquiring the COVID-19 bond. The facility was approved by Cabinet on Monday and articulated by President Lungu in his address on Thursday. So far, the Government has issued K5.2 Billion, through the Bank of Zambia. Some of the funds to be raised from the Covid-19 bond will be used to pay off the retirees and those on the separatees payroll who have been waiting for their benefits for a long time. To help address outstanding domestic arrears, part of the resources from the bond will also be used to pay local contractors, and suppliers of goods and services,” Yamba stated.
He added that K533 million of the K10 billion medium term refinancing facility had so far been approved, with K753 million worth of applications from the non-banking financial sector currently under consideration.
“Further, the Covid-19 bond resources will be available to support the small and medium enterprises that will not be able to access the K10 billion medium term refinancing facility managed by the Bank of Zambia through commercial banks,” Yamba stated.
He further stated that despite working under difficult circumstances, government remains committed to dismantling of arrears, prudent utilisation of resources, and implementation of fiscal consolidation measures.
“In line with the Government’s on-going commitment to dismantle domestic arrears, the Treasury recently released K30 million for ex-employees of TAZARA, ZAMTEL, and former Railway Systems of Zambia. The funds will help to facilitate the settlement of terminal benefits to the eligible ex-employees, some of whom were represented by legal firms. The Ministry of Finance hopes that in processing the payments, eligible beneficiaries such as orphans, widows, and other vulnerable persons, will be accorded special consideration. We transferred the funds to ZSIC Life Limited, National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), Mak Partners, and L.M. Matibini & Company. The Ministry of Finance is cognizant of the tight liquidity conditions that continue to impact on businesses and households in our country. As a country, we are also faced with reduced tax, and non-tax revenue inflows due to factors such as the Covid-19 induced economic slowdown. Even under such a difficult scenario, the Government remains committed to dismantling of arrears, prudent utilisation of resources, and implementation of fiscal consolidation measures,” stated Yamba.
“The K30 million facility for the youth empowerment scheme announced by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu on Thursday, coupled with among other facilities – the K10 billion medium term financing facility being managed by the Bank of Zambia, the K1 billion recently released for crop purchases by the Food Reserve Agency – and the US$29 million for implementation of the aquaculture seed fund under the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project aimed at enhancing fish production for more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, are instances that demonstrate the Government’s commitment to mitigation of liquidity constraints in society.”