US$5.1 million paid towards electricity import in exercise to dismantle domestic arrears

Lunte MP Felix Mutati (2nd right) with Zambia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Christine Kalamwina, on his left, at a panel discussion at UN Headquarters on 10 July, 2014. On his right are Rwanda Finance Minister Claver Gatete, UN Under-Secretary-General Gyan Chandra Acharya and Swiss Agency for Development's Pio Wennubst. PHOTO| CHIBAULA D. SILWAMBA | ZAMBIA UN MISSION
Lunte MP Felix Mutati

Minister of Finance Felix Mutati says government is committed to dismantling the stock of domestic arrears.

The Minister said this in relation to the K2.1 billion which has been released by the Treasury between December, 2016 and January 2017 towards domestic arrears.

And Government has today released K200 million for the 2016/2017 Farmer Input Support Programme [FISP], bringing the total releases for the current season to K800 million.

Mr Mutati says the money locked in domestic arrears belongs to the people some of whom manage Micro, Small, or Medium Enterprises.

He says the government is working hard to ensure that these arrears are dismantled as and when the resource-envelop and competing demands allow.

Of the K2.1 billion funds released by the Treasury between December 2016 and January, 2017, K701 million went to infrastructure related programs.

Others who received funds to dismantle arrears include the National Road Fund Agency which got K300 million for roads, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing which was given K90 million for infrastructure in the new districts, and the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone which received K25 million to settle arrears related to construction of an electricity substation.

K615 million was released for agriculture related programs. This included K400 million for the Farmer Input Support Programme [FISP] for arrears which accrued in the 2015/2016 season, and a further K190 million for arrears under the Food Reserve Agency [FRA].

Other arrears targeted include an allocation of K80 million given to the Public Service Pensions Fund for pensioners, K69 million to the Electoral Commission of Zambia for reduction of arrears related to the 2016 general elections, K50.2 million for reduction of arrears for electricity imports, and K300 million to PTA Bank for fuel import arrears.

And Mr. Mutati has said the K200 million release for the 2016/2017 FISP will help to bring the economic diversification programme, through agriculture development, on track.