Two MPs from the opposition have promised to support the 2012 National Budget expected to be presented to the National Assembly this Friday by Finance and National Planning Minister Alexander Chikwanda.
Situmbeko Musokotwane of MMD and Cornelius Mwetwa of UPND told a government controlled newspaper Times of Zambia that objecting to the passing of the National Budget would cause suffering of the Zambian people. The two said they would support the passing of the Budget to allow Government to release finances for various sectors and help stir national economic development for the benefit of the Zambian people.
In separate interviews in Lusaka yesterday, MMD national chairperson for economic affairs Situmbeko Musokotwane said Zambians should not doubt the passing of the Budget on account of the MMD’s decision to reject the endorsement of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last month. Dr Musokotwane said the MMD would remain a credible opposition party and only reject decisions that were not in the interest of the Zambian people. He said the earlier decision not to support PAC was premised on the removal of the position of secretary to the treasury at the Ministry of Finance when the office was very important to the governance of the nation. Dr Musokotwane, who is former minister of Finance and National Planning, said objecting to the passing of the Budget would cause suffering in the Zambian people.
He said the MMD would only oppose contents that would not be in the interest of the people of Zambia. UPND deputy national chairperson for information and publicity Cornellius Mweetwa said the MPs from the second largest opposition party in the country would support the Budget because it was not for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) but for all Zambians. He said MPs were part of Government as legislatures and their allegiance remained with the people.
Mr Mweetwa said the Budget would be debated upon and controversial issues would be raised but that it would be supported to allow the people of Zambia not to suffer. He said UPND would not carry an agenda which leads to suffering and hoped that the allocation to agriculture was high in line with the SADC declaration on agriculture that was put together in Dar es Salaam about t 10 years ago. Mr Mweetwa said there should more resources allocated towards poverty alleviation and improvement of health standards in the country.
“So in short, the UPND does not have a problem with the national budget because as MPs we are part of government and our role is not to make the people of Zambia suffer. The Budget will pass so these insinuations that we will not pass the Budget are neither here nor there. The Budget will be supported,” Mr Mweetwa said. The Ministry of Finance has announced that it has completed the technical analysis and synchronisation of development guidelines of the new Government in the 2012 National Budget to be presented to Parliament this Friday.
Mr Kandeta said in the last few days, staff at the ministry had spent substantial time with the Finance Minster Alexander Chikwanda, who was ready to present the first Budget of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. He said over the next few days, the Ministry of Finance would ensure that all relevant documentations were ready for presentation of the 2012 Budget.