THE delay in paying grants and salaries to civil servants and quasi-government institutions reflects government’s continued undervaluing of the education sector, the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) has stated.
And CTPD has reiterated its call on government to cut its appetite for borrowing and restructure the existing debt stock in order to reduce the cost of debt servicing, and to restore its priority for education.
CTPD Senior Researcher Bright Chizonde stated in a statement issued, Sunday, that the government must restore its priority for education.
“The delay in paying grants and salaries to quasi-government and government institutions also reflects government’s continued undervaluing of the education sector. The education sector has seen a reduction in budget shares in both the 2019 and 2020 national budgets. As government continues to borrow, debt servicing has created increased fiscal pressures which have led to an involuntary resource reallocation. This delay in payments is an indication of just how compromised the fiscal position is and also identifies the education sector as an area of reduced priority. In light of this, CTPD reiterates its call on Government to reduce its appetite for borrowing, restructure the existing debt stock in order to reduce the cost of debt servicing, and to restore its priority for education,” Chizonde stated.
He further stated that the organization was concerned with the increased vulnerability of Zambia’s fiscal position to shocks such as unforeseen by-elections and natural disasters.
He expressed worry that because of that, the government had said it was failing to meet its obligations to grant-aided institutions and to pay salaries to civil servants on time.
“Prudent public financial management requires that Government provides for contingencies and thus negative fiscal shocks should not result in a failure to meet important obligations. It is therefore worrying that Government is failing to pay grants and salaries to civil servants and quasi-government institutions due to dealing with natural disasters or security situations,” Chizonde stated.
He further stated there was need for a long-term plan such as the reduction of debt contraction as it would help improve government’s fiscal position.
“There is need for a long-term plan, which includes reducing debt contraction because this will help improve government’s fiscal position. It has come to the attention of the general public that some TEVET and Science Statutory bodies, as well higher institutions of learning such as UNZA and CBU, have not received funding for almost two months due to the fact that resources have had to be mobilized to address the unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances such as hunger, floods and criminal activities of gassing,” stated Chizonde.
“We have also [noted] that due to the compromised fiscal position on account of high debt servicing, Government no longer has funds for emergencies. CTPD is therefore urging Government to urgently implement corrective measures in order to create space for such unforeseen eventualities. A country cannot be operated like a poor household, where household members are told that there will be reduced food allocation due to the fact that rentals have unforeseeably increased.”