The PF government is facing a serious budget overrun that was last experienced before Zambia qualified to the High Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) completion point a source at the Ministry of Finance has told the Zambian Watchdog.
And Agriculture Minister Bob Sichinga last night confirmed that government was highly indebted to various financial institutions hence it cannot afford to maintain subsidies.
The source said the budget overrun was so serious especially considering the fact that it is coming in the middle of the year and also middle of the budget implementation process.
The source said among the factors that have contributed to the huge budget overrun is the unplanned creation of districts, endless commissions of inquiries and bloated delegations in foreign travel.
“Zambians have been pre-occupied with the subsidy talk but they do not know that the country is actually experiencing a budget overrun, it is so serious, the last time we had such an overrun in terms of percentage of national budget was when Katele Kalumba was Finance Minister and it is very easy to tell the contributing factors, it is the creation of districts, inquiries, by-elections even some foreign travel all this was not budgeted for” the source said.
The source said it will be interesting to see how Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda will handle the issue when Parliament reconvenes this month because at the rate the finances are being wasted, the civil servants may not even get their new salaries and conditions of service in September or these will start getting paid late.
And featuring on ZNBC TV programme last night, Mr. Sichinga blamed the previous MMD regime for ‘no money in the PF government pockets’ and said they wanted to reverse the process.
Mr. Sichinga who almost got upset with the challenge he got from former Finance Minister and Agriculture Minister and now FDD president Edith Nawakwi said the PF government wanted more money to diversify production from maize to other crops.
But FDD president Nawakwi, who has been an ally of the PF regime has come out strongly in condemning the sudden removal of subsidies saying government should just confess that they have a budget over-run as all the money has finished on unbudgeted for projects such as by-elections and reckless expenditure.