FORMER finance minister Ng’andu Magande says the UPND government has the goodwill to successfully implement the proposed K173 billion budget.

And Magande says the 2022 budget will create an enabling environment for job creation.

In an interview, Magande observed that there was so much goodwill towards the UPND government from cooperating partners.

“Just when you see the Zambezi at Kariba and you see it in Mwinilunga, in Mwinilunga it is very small. It just comes out from a stone but because of the accumulation on the way, the Barotse Plains up to Kariba, it becomes a big river. I suspect that at the moment, there is so much goodwill towards the UPND government because of the leadership that has come in,” he said.

“So we still have our all weather friends, cooperating partners, some of them haven’t got the means of using their money. I know that in some European countries, the issue of primary schools and secondary schools, all those are dealt with by the private sector. So, they have a bit of money that they can give us so that we put it into places such as health and education.”

Magande said there was need to close all the leakages in the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the budget was successfully implemented.

“Really, what amazes me is that you only need K1.6 billion to employ 30,000 teachers. What was the budget last year? K119 billion and we couldn’t even recruit these 30,000 people using K1.6 billion. Something is just wrong somewhere. So I think that to an extent as the President was mentioning yesterday on swearing in some of these senior people in the Ministry of Finance, there has been a lot of leakages, if we can close all these leakages, the money I think can be raised even amongst ourselves. If we have a lot of people start mining gold in Mwinilunga, out of that we get a bit of that money so that it is able to recruit these nurses that we need in order to combat problems like COVID-19,” he said.

And Magande said the 2022 budget would create an enabling environment for job creation.

“The budget has brought quite a lot of new things. One would imagine that the promises by the UPND to sort out the economy should be something that is within the grasps of the citizens. I feel that the introduction of budgeting and ward level, district level is very important. That is where the resources are. Some of you here will be talking to your relatives in Vubwi, in Mwinilunga to say ‘me I want to come home, I know where to find the timber, I know where to find the fish, we form a company there so that we start making desks for our primary schools’,” said Magande.

“If we are getting more of you with such ideas then it simply means that the budget has provided an environment for the creation of jobs, not only to be employed but to be engaged. I think that is the major departure from the budgets like the one I handled in 1971 when I was director of budgeting in the Ministry of Finance. We have tried to talk about decentralization but we have not talked about fiscal decentralization. We have talked about moving bodies around but not moving the resources around. So one of the things that some of you should be planning is how will those people in Mwandi who have never planned with that kind of money, how will they do it? So that is why I am saying it is a budget that is trying to get money to where people have activities.”