THE 2014 National Budget will shift focus towards income distribution for the benefit of the poor, Vice-President Guy Scott has said.
Dr Scott said income distribution such as cash transfer and community-based activities were important as opposed to merely finding jobs for the people.
The Vice-President was speaking during the launch of Zambia Economic Briefs by the World Bank in Lusaka yesterday.
“There is need to distinguish between income distribution and job creation and that is why the 2014 Budget will shift its focus from job creation to income distribution activities,” Dr Scott said.
He said there was need to find ways of handling Zambia’s natural resources for the benefit of citizens and youths in particular.
The Vice-President said there was considerable arable land and water resources in most parts of Zambia such as Luapula Province which could be harnessed to increase earnings of the rural people and reduce poverty.
He said stakeholders should work together to find practical and feasible solutions to the issue of jobs, one of Zambia’s challenges.
At the same function, World Bank Country Director Kundhavi Kadiresan advised Zambia to use foreign debt prudently.
Ms Kadiresan said Zambia had continued to experience decent economic growth, but that there were emerging challenges and risks ahead.
She said one of the emerging challenges in economic management was the country’s capacity to use costly foreign debt in an efficient manner and keeping personnel costs low so that essential expenditure on health and education services for the poor were not crowded out.
“I must say from the very onset that this report is not intended to provide solutions to Zambia’s jobs challenge. The days of the World Bank coming with prescribed solutions are long gone,” she said.
She said the brief merely provided a mirror to realities on the ground that should enable all stakeholders to look at the challenges from a fresh perspective.
Ms Kadiresan said ways of increasing productivity in agriculture should be found so that poor farmers were able to get returns from their labour.
“Equally, we should improve the quality and access to basic education which forms the foundation on which future skill building rests,” she said.