Southern UPND says 2015 budget not responsive

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Southern UPND says budget not responsive

Choma, October 15, 2014, ZANIS– Livingstone District United Party for National Development (UPND) says the 2015 National budget presented to parliament last Friday does not respond to the economic objectives of social sectors such as agriculture.

District UPND spokesperson Neto Halwabala said there was need for serious investment in agri-business as opposed to production alone in the agriculture sector.

Mr Halwabala was reacting to the K46.6 billion national budget presented last Friday by Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda.

In a telephone interview with ZANIS today Mr Halwabala observed that if the country was to reduce poverty there was need for a paradigm shift to agri-business incubation zones which are private driven to have more impact on poverty than any other policies in the agriculture sector.

“ The budget is still organized around production in the agriculture sector instead of agri-business and if we  really want to address poverty in this country, we need to have agri-business incubation zones  that are private driven because as things stand now we shall continue to produce and have no market which is as good as not producing at all,” said Mr. Halwabala.

On tourism, Mr Halwabala noted that government should come up with incentives to encourage the more than 14 million Zambian local tourists to promote local tourism.

He said anticipating many foreign tourists to come to Zambia and at the same time fail to also put up incentives to woo local tourists was outrageous.

“Talking of entry points for international tourists say 600,000 a year without spelling out incentives for  the 14 million plus potential local tourists is outrageous,” said  Mr Halwabala.

“We need to promote our local tourism so that we can withstand external shocks of reduction in foreign tourist arrivals as is now the case in some western African countries hit by the Ebola virus.

Meanwhile, Mr Halwabala said the UNPD in Livingstone will boycott this year’s jubilee celebrations because of what he termed as government’s progressive withdraw of citizens fundamental rights and freedoms of assembly, movement, association through the abuse of the public Act.

He instead advised UPND members to commemorate the loss of the opposition political parties liberties and freedoms under the Patriotic Front (PF) within the 50 years after independence.