Government in K1.25bn deficit

Zambian Kwacha l

GOVERNMENT last month recorded a deficit of over K1 billion, money meant for financing developmental projects, among other commitments.

Ministry of Finance public relations officer Chileshe Kandeta revealed yesterday in a press statement that in March, the Treasury released K8.1 billion to facilitate government operations, debt servicing and also to finance development projects.

He, however, stated that in the period under review, the Treasury only raised K6.87 billion in revenue and grants while expenditure stood at K8.1 billion.

“However, due to high expenditure requirements, an overall deficit of K1.25 billion was recorded. The deficit was mainly financed from a bridge loan of K1.1 billion,” Kandeta stated.

He added that the aggregate domestic revenues collected amounted to K6.81 billion, of which tax revenues was K1.99 billion and K4.82 billion came from non-tax revenues.

“Collections under non-tax revenue were above target collection by 0.3 per cent due to, among other initiatives, increased collections from road tolling managed by the National Road Fund Agency. This is commendable progress and the Treasury wishes to take this opportunity to urge motorists, both local and foreign, to continue complying with road tolling regulations,” he stated.

“The government further received K57.91 million project support under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and Ministry of Local Government and Housing. Of the K8.1 billion disbursed, K3.74 billion went towards debt service of which K741.3 million was for interest while a total of K3.0 billion was released for principal repayments. Domestic interest payments accounted for K412 million while the balance was on external interest payments.”

And Kandeta disclosed that the Treasury disbursed K492.6 million for goods and services, “key” of which K88 million went towards procurement of drugs while K100 million was set aside for preparations for the 2016 general elections.

“K1.2 billion was released towards fuel subsidy payments and K285.3 million for electricity subsidy payments. Although these payments have a huge bearing on availability of resources for other developmental programmes, they are critical in ensuring that our economy remains functional and productive,” Kandeta stated.

“From the March 2016 disbursements, the Farmer Input Support Programme [FISP] was funded K130 million while an additional amount of K33.8 million was given to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to facilitate payment of works certificates for rehabilitation of storage sheds and other crop purchase-related expenditure.”

K61.6 million, according to Kandeta, went towards the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) while K42.9 million was set aside for social benefits of which the social cash transfer programme received K21.7 million.

Meanwhile, Kandeta stated that the Treasury released K136 million for health and education infrastructure projects while K69.8 million was disbursed to road sector programmes.

He stated that the Ministry of Finance would continue to implement measures that “will facilitate the achievement of development objectives of the 2016 budget within the established fiscal and treasury management standards.”

“The Ministry of Finance will endeavour to heighten the monitoring and evaluation of budget and economic affairs so that national development programmes continue to produce results that are beneficial to the people of Zambia, and reassuring to the regional and international investment community,” stated Kandeta.

The Post