FINANCE Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is expected to deliver the 2021 national budget on September 25, 2020, following the just-ended budgetary consultative process.

This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta, Thursday.

“According to Part XVI, Article 202 (1) and (3), of Constitution of Zambia (2016), the Minister of Finance is mandated to prepare and present the National Budget (estimates of revenue and expenditure) before the National Assembly, not later than ninety (90) days prior to the commencement of the next financial year for Parliamentary approval on or before 31st December. In this regard, the Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is expected to deliver the 2021 National Budget on Friday, 25 September, 2020. In his speech, the Minister will address issues related to the global and domestic economy, macro-economic objectives, policies, and strategies for 2021, and the 2021 national budget,” Kandeta stated.

“In the intervening period, the inter-ministerial Tax Policy Review Committee (TPRC) comprising experts in direct taxes, mining matters, customs and excise, and value added tax; and the inter-ministerial Non-Tax Policy Review Committee (NTPRC) comprising experts from all revenue-generating Ministries and agencies, will be finalising their assessment of proposals and recommendations to arrive at the best possible revenue generation measures for the 2021 National Budget.”

And he refuted any assertions that the World Bank had halted its budgetary support to Zambia.

“At this point, we wish to address the misinformation by unknown people, which has been circulated on various media platforms alleging that the World Bank has halted BUDGET SUPPORT to Zambia. To start with, Zambia DOES NOT get budget support from the World Bank. At this point, we have also NOT YET APPLIED for budget support from the World Bank; therefore, halting, rejection, or stoppage is not applicable. What we currently get from the World Bank is project support. The facility is intact and the disbursements are flowing. Starting in June, 2020, the World Bank has availed Zambia a new window under IDA 19. In this regard, the indicative planning and budgeting allocation for the period 2021 to 2022 is US $600 million across all eligible sectors in the current country partnership framework for the period 2019 to 2023,” stated Kandeta.

“Ministry of Finance will continue to engage frequently, local and external partners in order to improve information exchange on matters of mutual socio-economic interest.”

Various stakeholders, such as umbrella business associations, industry captains, professional bodies and interest groups, among others, made submissions to the Ministry of Finance during the consultation period, which ran from May-August, 2020.

The number of submissions received by August 31, 2020, were 382, with 225 proposals submitted on customs and excise tax, according to Kandeta.

In May, 2020, the Ministry of Finance announced the commencement of preparations for the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the 2021 national budget.

The public, private sector players and non-State actors were invited to make proposals on tax and non-tax policies for possible inclusion in the 2021 budget to ensure broad-based consultations.

Although this year’s K106 billion national budget was government’s highest-ever proposed expenditure, Dr Ng’andu required an additional K15.01 billion supplementary budget to tackle Zambia’s huge public debt repayments, among other government functions.