The Ministry of Finance has announced that it released total of K5.64 billion in March 2020, with K1.07 billion going towards domestic and external debt servicing.
And the ministry further announced that K104.7 million was also released in the same month for the purchase of drugs in Public Health Institutions and the fight against the COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba says measures have been put in place to enhance surveillance and evaluation of economic fundamentals aimed at assessing the impact of the COVID-19 on the domestic economy.
In a statement, ministry spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta stated that the amount released for debt servicing is in line with the government’s fiscal sustainability and debt reduction implementation strategy.
“In March 2020, the National Treasury released a sum of K5.64 billion to finance various developmental and public service delivery programmes. Of this amount, K1.07 billion went towards both domestic and external debt service, K2.2 billion was allocated to the public service wage bill, K1.1 billion was released for transfers, subsidies and social benefits, K819.2 million on financing various government projects, programmes and general operations, and K437.6 million went to developmental programmes such as roads, rural electrification among others. The K1.07 billion released for both domestic and external debt service is in line with the government’s fiscal sustainability and debt reduction implementation strategy,” Kandeta stated.
“Consistent with our fiscal consolidation initiative restated by the Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu during the economic briefing to the nation delivered on Friday 27 March 2020, the Treasury released K500 million towards dismantling outstanding pension dues. Further, Ministries, Provinces and Other Public Service Controlling Agencies received K89 million for liquidation of outstanding liabilities related to consumption of goods and services.
He further outlined how the money was disbursed for various projects.
“Under general operations, the Treasury released K819.1 million, notable among which were the following expenditure areas: K104.7 million for purchase of drugs in Public Health Institutions and the fight against the Covid -19; K71.1 million for general operations of Ministries, Provinces and Other Public Service Controlling Agencies; K33.1 million for the Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice; K21.4 million for the Zambia Statistical Agency for 2020 Census preparatory programmes under the Ministry of National Development Planning; K19.6 million given to the Ministry of Higher Education for the skills development fund; and, K5 million given to the Examinations Council of Zambia for the administration of examinations programme,” Kandeta stated.
“The Treasury further released K609 million towards transfers (K549.4m) and subsidies (K59.6m). Of this amount, K146.3 million went towards support for operations of Grant Aided Institutions. Some of the recipients, among others, were: Financial Intelligence Centre, K2.2 million; National Assembly (Constituency Offices), K5.5 million; Chiefs affairs, K5.2 million; Zambia Law Development Commission, K2.3 million; Zambia Public Procurement Authority, K3.6 million; Zambia Revenue Authority, K129.6 million; Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF), K98.9 million; and, Operations of Public Universities, K79.1 million. During the month under review, the National Treasury also released K437.6million for capital development programmes. Notable among the recipient programmes are the following: Road infrastructure, K407.6 million; Electricity infrastructure development in rural areas through the Rural Electrification Programme (REA), K22.5 million; and, Ministry of General Education infrastructure projects, K5 million.”
He added that in the agriculture sector, the Government released K59.6 million, of which the Food Reserve Agency received K28 million for grain purchases under the Strategic Food Reserve Programme, K21.6 million went towards the 2019/2020 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) while the Food Security Pack Programme received K10 million.
Kandeta further stated that Cooperating Partners released K193.3 million for donor supported programmes under various ministries, provinces and other Public Service Controlling Agencies while Non-tax revenue collection agencies received K43.6 million under the Appropriation-In-Aid (AIA) mechanism, bringing the first quarter support to the initiative to K144.4 million.
Appropriation-In-Aid is an initiative devised by the Ministry of Finance for non-tax revenue collecting agencies to retain a part of the funds raised through fines, fees and levies, among others.
He also stated that the ministry disbursed another K51.8 million to support scaling up of hospital operations countrywide.
“In the month under review, a sum of K104.7 million was also released for the purchase of drugs in Public Health Institutions and the fight against the Covid – 19. To support scaling up of hospital operations countrywide, a total of K51.8 million was released in the month under review,” stated Kandeta.
Meanwhile, Yamba, in his weekly consultative meetings with players in the economy, requested for optimal utilisation of work tools that the information and communication technology industry offers to ensure sustained productivity and the prudent utilisation of time at work.
“In this regard, the Ministry of Finance confirms that measures have been instituted to enhance surveillance and evaluation of economic fundamentals aimed at assessing the impact of unfolding events in the international economy due to Covid-19 on the domestic economy,” read the statement.