HONE SIAME, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has allocated K314.9 million towards paying for students in public universities.
Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba says Government will spend an additional K1 billion to continue building schools, universities and colleges.
Mr Yamba said the K314.9 million is part of the K10 billion that Government has allocated to the education sector in the 2017 national budget.
He said Government remains committed to the development of the education sector to enable it continue making immense contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.
Mr Yamba said this in a Citizens’ Budget report released by Ministry of Finance head of public relations Chileshe Kandeta yesterday.
“Government has provided K10.6 billion for the education sector. This will allow Government to pay teachers’ salaries, employ more teachers and continue the building of schools, colleges and universities,” Mr Yamba said..
He said K233.5 million will go towards skills development under the skills development fund to be used to support training for trade skills such as carpentry, mechanics and building.
Mr Yamba urged Zambians to engage their respective members of Parliament (MPs) on whatever information they may need to know about the national budget and programmes that Government intends to undertake in their areas.
“All citizens should tell their area member of Parliament of any concerns that they may have with regard to the budget. This will help their member of Parliament to discuss the citizens’ ideas on the proposed budget during the parliamentary debates,” he said.
And Government has set aside K391.7 million to improve the supply of clean and safe drinking water in various parts of the country.
Mr Yamba said Government is determined to get back on track with its development plans to create more jobs and opportunities for all citizens in the country and create a bright future for children.
He said Government has also put aside money to enable the poor and vulnerable people to acquire the necessary education and access medical assistance as well as assist stranded people who may have been dumped or abandoned.
Mr Yamba said this would be done through the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
He said the school feeding programme has also been accelerated with more pupils set to benefit so that they could equally complete their education and contribute to national development.
He said the number of schoolchildren to benefit from the programme has been increased from one million in 2016 to 1.25 million pupils in 2017.
“The feeding programme will improve the learning ability of school-going pupils and prevent malnutrition,” Mr Yamba said.
He said Government is committed to address various challenges that people are facing in various parts of the country through effective implementation of policies and programmes in various sectors to improve the welfare of citizens.
“The recent past has been challenging for the people of Zambia. For example, low copper prices and increased load-shedding meant that the Government was not able to collect the amount of taxes it expected from various businesses, including mining companies.
“In addition, Government had to keep spending a lot of money buying fuel and electricity for many activities in the country. As a result, there has been less money to pay for other Government programmes such as building of roads, schools,hospitals and providing drugs that are needed,” Mr Yamba said.