PAMBASHE PF member of parliament Ronald Chitotela has wondered how government is going to employ 44,000 civil servants next year when it is facing difficulties in paying the current workforce.

And Mansa Central PF member of parliament Dr Chitalu Chilufya says there is need for increased allocation to the health sector.

In an interview, Chitotela said it was clear that government was struggling to meet emoluments, wondering how it would employ 44,000 civil servants.

“Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane is a very good micro economist, what he was reading was a Cabinet position. But his position is what he spoke off cuff to say he is struggling to now raise money to pay the civil servants,” Chitotela said.

“Now we are questioning, he is targeting to employ 44,000 civil servants that amounts to over K1.2 billion in terms of salaries. Right now he is complaining that he is struggling to raise money for the taxes to remit the salary requirement, that is his true position. He has no choice but to reàd Cabinet’s position. But his belief is what he spoke off cuff, in his hearts of hearts is what he spoke off cuff. And we will be watching. We will see next year making sure that what he has announced is implemented. If it comes to pass, it will be good for the people of Zambia, it will be good for all of us.”

Chitotela said it was gratifying that the UPND government had continued with the PF’s policies in the tourism sector.

“PF had sound policies in terms of the tourism activities because you cannot promote tourism activities with the fees and levies that the previous administration were levying. PF under the leadership of president Lungu did suspend and we are happy that the successor has noted that and he has committed to continue with the good policies of the Patriotic Front. That is good!” he said.

And Dr Chilufya said there was need for more allocation to the health sector.

“First of all, we must congratulate honourable Musokotwane for eloquently presenting the budget and he has articulated the budget in line with the main sectors that the UPND budget will focus on. I will pick the health sector, he has increased the allocation to the health sector but however, you must be cautious because he has combined the allocation to the COVID fight and the routine budget. So that may mark the actual non increase to the health sector budget,” he said.

“So we can look at the debt that was accrued during the fight against COVID, the drug date and looking at the needs for the following year that the health sector budget needed a little bit more. So, however, we have seen a very clear intent to continue on the path of the PF government started, that is universal health coverage by investing in key health areas in the health sectors. By recruiting 11,000 health workers next year, it is going to push for universal health coverage significantly.”

He said the K3.9 billion allocation for drugs was a drop in the ocean.

“Secondly by talking about increasing the allocation to drugs by K3.9 billion that again gives the health sector an opportunity to repay the drug debt. My worry on that is, of course, is that there is already a significant debt during the fight against COVID that is due to drugs. So when you combine that K3.9 billion, it will still be a drop in the ocean. So, I will still look forward to him increasing the allocation on the drug line. However, it is a question of intent, good beginning. If you look at the other fundamentals in health systems that are also being addressed in a significant manner,” said Dr Chilufya.