23 July 2014

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Govt releases K1.6bn for poverty reduction, employment

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By YANDE SYAMPEYO
GOVERNMENT has released K1.6 billion to ministries, provinces and other spending agencies for poverty reduction and employment creation activities.

The funds were released between June 30 and July this year, in line with government’s quest to stay on course with realignment of public expenditure from being predominantly consumption-oriented to capital, poverty reduction and employment creation activities.
This is according to a statement released in Lusaka yesterday by Ministry of Finance public relations officer, Chileshe Kandeta.
Mr Kandeta said last week the treasury released K342.8 million for foreign currency purchases, of which K307 million (US$50 million) was channelled towards the repayment of arrears owed to PTA Bank for fuel purchases.
He added that K35 million was channelled  to Zambia’s foreign missions for staff emoluments, while K1.8 million was a scheduled external debt amortisation, the paying off of debt with a fixed repayment schedule in regular installments over a period of time.
“These transactions had a toll on the exchange rate; however, forex demand is expected to taper off this week,” he said.
Mr Kandeta further stated that government recapitalised the Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) with K165 million, from the proceeds of the US$1 billion sovereign bond.
He said funds have significantly improved the resource base for ZNBS and that government anticipates improved onward lending to the public as mortgages in form of home purchase loans, construction loans, home improvement loans, and loans under employer-assisted schemes.
The treasury further released K378 million to the Ministry of Education of which K240 million is for school infrastructure projects in various provinces while K10 million is an allocation for student tuition fees.
The Ministry of Health has received K152.6 million of which K95 million is targeted at capital projects and procurement of medical equipment for modernisation of health service delivery in the country.
The Ministry of Local Government and Housing received K43 million, of which K2 million was specifically appropriated for construction of markets and bus stops.
Further, the Ministry of Defence received K30 million for purchase of earthmoving equipment, an important step in ensuring local capacity of the infrastructure sector is enhanced.
“With the foregoing measure in place, the Ministry of Finance is optimistic of delivery timeliness and better quality infrastructure works,” Mr Kandeta said
He said the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs was allocated K4 million towards ongoing works.
The National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) was given K25.3 million while the Public Service Pensions Fund received K21.7 million as employers’ share towards the June, 2014 pension contributions.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) was given K5 million for the forthcoming by-elections while  the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was allocated K60 million for crop purchases.
And Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, has appealed for timely implementation of the programmes which have benefitted from the K1.6 billion funding.
Mr Yamba said the various government agencies should not only maintain the positive growth trajectory but also ensure they take advantage of rain-free weather conditions.
“At all levels of governance, it is also important that everyone familiarises themselves with the statutes, regulations and guidelines on management and administration of public funds to ensure that the intended beneficiaries are touched by these resource outlays, in a timely, positive and sustainable manner,” he said.
He said it is government’s desire that public funds are utilised for intended purposes.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 01:49

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