Kabompo UPND member of parliament Ambrose Lufuma says the K1.2 billion 2020 budgetary allocation to Smart Zambia is too high.

Debating in Parliament, Tuesday, Lufuma said Smart Zambia was too small a unit for such a huge allocation, further lamenting that part of that money was borrowed.

“The budget which this unit has been given, it’s a very small unit comprising maybe five departments or so if compared to various ministries which are huge and have a lot of personnel and activities to execute. They have been given a total of K1.2 billion and this is not small money. This is a lot of money and I have a problem with that in that the K1.12 million of that K1.2 billion is money that has been borrowed. It’s a loan. So we are in increasing our stock in terms of debt accruing to this country again. And [if] you remember, the Minister of Finance has been preaching austerity measures and that we should restrict acquiring or contracting any more loans because this is suffocating the economy. But here we are already getting K1.2 billion to give to this unit notwithstanding its relevance of course,” Lufuma said.

Lufuma said giving that amount to Smart Zambia would disadvantage other sectors such as health, education, among others.

“The second reservation I have against such a budget is that it is too high. Apart from it being debt-oriented and loan contraction, it is rather too high. This then means that we are left with very little money that will go towards funding of for example drugs in our hospitals. Even the education sector, Madam Speaker, will be affected. We lack teachers and desks and yet we have a huge budget going to Smart Zambia. We can ill afford it. We lack materials in our school, even chalk is not there, infrastructure, children are learning under trees. We also lack money to repair the various schools that are being blown off because of the rains. We do not have enough money for food. There is a hunger situation in this country,” said Lufuma.