PF vice president Given Lubinda says the 2022 national budget is a hoax, an illusion and retrogressive.

At a media, Wednesday, Lubinda said the budget was not tenable.

“I wish to present to you our findings which were arrived at after very careful and painstaking probing. From the outset, let me state [that] the budget in its entirety is a hoax. It is a hoax and it is not correct. Secondly, it is an illusion as it is not tenable. Thirdly, it is a deception as it hides the real intentions of its authors. Fourthly, it is retrogressive as it brings back the many gains that have been achieved so far. Fifthly, it is a breach of the fundamental campaign promises upon which the UPND was voted and sixth and most importantly, it is pro-capital and anti-poor,” he said.

Lubinda said the figures in the budget as presented in Parliament were not adding up as there was a discrepancy of K37 billion on the expenditure side.

“Let me explain why [we] say it is a hoax. Figures in the budget ought to balance. First within the two aspects of the budget namely; the expenditure side and the revenue side, within the expenditure side, the figures must balance, within the revenue side the figures must balance. Secondly, they must balance between the two aspects of the budget. However, as the nation has already been made aware by our alert members of parliament, the 2022 budget has a discrepancy of K37 billion on the expenditure side,” he said.

“Whereas they are showing a total of K173 billion as what is required to be spent in the 2022 budget, when you add the figures, they only add to 140. Where is the 37 billion? Why has this expenditure been hidden, why are you hiding figures in the national budget? If indeed this is an error then why are you borrowing to finance the budget? Because your expenditure side is not 173 billion, it is less by 37 billion. So you are either hiding expenditure or you want to over state the required revenue? In both cases, what is the reason for that?”

Lubinda questioned how the UPND government planned to grow revenue when they had proposed a reduction on certain taxes.

“The UPND proposes to grow the budget from 119 billion in 2021 to 173 billion in 2022, representing an increase of 45 percent. 45 percent increase in one year and yet they have proposed increases in consumption and reductions in revenues. They have proposed reductions in important revenues such as the mineral royalty tax, corporate tax and custom duties. How will you grow your revenue by 45 percent if at the same time you are cutting down on the taxes that you want to collect?” he asked.

And Lubinda said decentralization of the CDF was poorly done and would not be sustained.

“It does not happen like magic that you get power from the centre and immediately transfer it to the very peripheral of the development hierarchy, you don’t. It runs gradually, you introduce it slowly through the system. Through the centre, through the provinces, from the provinces to the districts and eventually to the constituency. You can’t transfer it immediately from the minister of education to the constituency without passing through the province through the districts, you can’t. That is inorganic and it cannot be sustained,” he said.

Lubinda said CDF allocation increment was a clear deception aimed at passing on the blame for government’s failure to members of parliament.

“It is a clear deception aiming at passing blame for the government’s failure to members of parliament. Now in the constituencies if people say the road is not done, they will stand up and say 25.7 million. When people stand up and say the market is not done, they will say a member of parliament received 25.7 million. When hospitals are not equipped, they will say 25.7 million…This is trickery of the worst kind,” he said.

Lubinda said the party had instructed its members of parliament to use parliament to educate the UPND MPs as the majority of them were new members.

“I wish to inform members of the public that we in the Patriotic Front have directed our members of parliament to do two things. One, to use parliament to educate the UPND because the majority of them are ignorant, greenhorns. The majority of them are greenhorns. We would like our members of parliament to go and educate them first on the history and secondly on the rationale of the CDF because it seems they do not understand what the CDF was meant to achieve,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lubinda said UPND would in five years time contract double the amount of debt PF borrowed in 10 years.

“Whereas the PF government borrowed 11 billion in 10 years, which is an average of 1.1 billion a year, this regime in only one year shall borrow US$4.6 billion. This is against the campaign gibberish from their President who stated several times that we have reached the ceiling in borrowing and we could borrow no more. Truth be told, Zambians voted on the basis of a well-orchestrated deceit. They orchestrated this deceit very cleverly. At this rate, with their desire to fulfill their lofty promises, this regime will have borrowed 23 billion in five years time, double this year’s budget. This was going to be double what the PF government borrowed in 10 years,” said Lubinda.