FINANCE Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu has announced that government will spend K119.6 billion in 2021, with more than K27 billion of that amount due to be spent on servicing Zambia’s external debt.

And Dr Ng’andu has proposed to raise the exempt threshold for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) to K4,000 from current K3,300 per month and adjust the income tax bands accordingly, a measure the Minister says will result in K455.6 million additional income in the pockets of Zambian workers.

Meanwhile, government intends to remove import duty on copper ores and concentrates to encourage local processing in the mining sector.

Announcing an unprecedented K119.96 billion 2021 budget, which translates to 32.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Dr Ng’andu announced that of this amount, K68.0 billion, representing 18.5 per cent of GDP, will come from domestic revenues and grants, while the balance of K51.6 billion is due to be raised through financing, which includes loans and grants.

Data shows that K27 billion will be due to be spent servicing Zambia’s external debt alone, up from this year’s K21.1 billion allocation, representing 23 per cent of the total budget amount.

Next year’s budget represents an increase from this year’s K106 billion.