Donors unhappy with clampdown on opposition, media

Donors say they are concerned with the ongoing infringements on the freedom of assembly of opposition political parties and the media.
Speaking during the first Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) review meeting in Lusaka today,UK Department for International Development (DFID) Head Kelvin Quinlan who spoke on behalf of other cooperating partners underscored that an active and free opposition is an essential element of democracy.

Mr. Quinlan says cooperating partners share the concerns raised by the Human Rights Commission on the ongoing infringements of fundamental freedoms in the country.

Meanwhile the Cooperating Partners have observed that government’s unbudgeted Expenditure risks crowding out resources for programs targeted at the poor Zambians.

Mr Quinlan observes that government decisions on poverty reduction appear to be inconsistent.

Mr. Quinlan has cited the recent Wage increases for public sector workers, whose income is already, well above the poverty line as one that has the potential to have a negative impact on tackling poverty.

He however notes that 2013 has seen some policy decisions that align well with the goal of reducing poverty.

He notes that increases in budgetary allocation for health, education and front line staff as well the removal of fuel subsidies are progressive strides to alleviating poverty.

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