GOVERNMENT has released K1.46 billion for social protection programmes, of which K1 Billion is targeted at paying pensioners under the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF); K217 million for purchase of drugs and medical supplies; K169 million for the Social Cash Transfer Programme, among others.
In a statement, Monday, Minister of Finance and National Planning Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane stated that the releases were financed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR).
“The Ministry of Finance and National Planning has released K1.46 billion for social protection programmes of which K1 Billion is targeted at paying pensioners under the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF); K217 million for purchase of drugs and medical supplies; K169 million is for the Social Cash Transfer Programme; and, K40 million is for the Food Security Pack Programme. The releases are financed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDR); an action aimed at ensuring sustained and continued protection of the poor and the vulnerable in Zambia. The K1 billion released to PSPF for pensioners is to safeguard their livelihoods and ensure that the money that they labored for during their time of service, is in their hands. Our objective for the year is to dismantle all historical pension dues owed to retired public service workers and curtail any accumulation of pension arrears, going forward,” he stated.
“This year, the Social Cash Transfer has been scaled-up, for government and foreign financed portions, by increasing the number of beneficiaries to over one million from less than 885,000 as at end August 2021. The transfer value per household has also been increased from K150 in 2021 to K200 per month in 2022, and from K300 to K400 per month (in the case of households that have severely disabled members).”
Dr Musokotwane stated that special accounting and reports on the utilization of the proceeds would be undertaken to ensure effective checks and balances.
“With regard to the Food Security Pack Programme, the number of beneficiaries has been increased to 290,000 households from less than 264,000 as at end-August 2021. The programme is for the benefit of vulnerable but viable farming households. Other social protection interventions that will be scaled up this year include the Girls Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood Programme, the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, Public Welfare Assistance Scheme, and Child Welfare Programme. The need for our health facilities to constantly have drugs and other medical supplies cannot be over-emphasized, this is why K217 million has been released and we will continue to do so in line with the 2022 National Budget,” said Dr Musokotwane.
“In conclusion, we reiterate our steadfast commitment to utilization of IMF SDR funds and all other public and donor funds in accordance with prudent fiscal management regulations and guidelines. To ensure effective checks and balances, special accounting and reports on the utilization of the proceeds will be undertaken. We are confident that in the long-run, the resources from the IMF will assist us in attaining the aspirations of the economic transformation programme and help lead the country to economic stabilization and positive growth, in line with the spirit in which the SDR finance was allocated i.e. to counter the effects of Covid-19. I take this opportunity to urge all implementing agencies of the social protection and pensions funds, to ensure that transparent payment systems are deployed so that we alleviate the hardships endured by our fellow citizens, especially unpaid retires, the poor, and the vulnerable.”