Budget lacks solid determination for poverty reduction – CSPR

The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has described the 2014 National budget as a mere pursuit of ‘economic growth’ and lacking solid determination with regard to human development, equity and poverty reduction.

CSPR Advocacy and Policy Dialogue Programme Officer, Sydney Mwansa, says his organization is pleased to note that the Social Cash transfer has been scaled up in the 2014 National budget with an allocation of almost K200 million from less than K80 million in this years’ National budget.

Mr. Mwansa says if well implemented, the commitments made by government to scale up by over 700 percent the social cash transfer scheme, will allow very poor and other disadvantaged groups such as women, youths and the disabled to participate in the economy through accessibility to investment funds.

Mr. Mwansa however, notes with sadness, that the agriculture sector which is key to job creation, food security and poverty reduction for the majority of the rural population, has received an allocation of K3.08 billion which is seven point two percent of the National Budget, despite the government noting the decline in agricultural output for the 2013 fiscal year.

He says the 2014 allocation is still inadequate to improve the agricultural output and its contribution to Gross Domestic Product by 25% in 2016 as targeted in the Revised Sixth National Development Plan.

He adds that his organization is greatly concerned that the health sector has been allocated K4.2 billion, with a marginal increase of K590.3 million from the 2013 budget.

Mr. Mwansa explains that considering the high disease burden, limited access to quality healthcare and inadequate medical staff and equipment, the allocation of nine point nine percent share of the national budget to the health sector is retrogressive and inadequate to finance the many challenges faced by the sector especially in rural areas.