PF to present a K32.2 trillion budget without cabinet approval

The PF regime will this (Friday) afternoon present the the 2013 budget without the usual cabinet meeting and approval.

Sources have told the Watchdog that the budget speech was drawn and written by technocrats and merely handed over to whoever will carry it to parliament to read it without scrutiny and approval by a cabinet meeting.

President Michael Sata is currently out of the country and is not aware of the contents of what is being referred to as the very first PF budget, which he should have presided over and approved before presentation to parliament.

Ceremonial Vice-President Guy Scott was yesterday in Mufumbwe for bye-elections nominations while most of the cabinet ministers will also learn of the contents of the budget this afternoon, a source said.

With a few hours before parliament sits to listen to the budget this afternoon, a senior government leader said it is still not clear who will read papers because Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda is Acting President and has not been attending parliament since President Sata left for Japan early this week.

According to the sources, the budget was compiled by a few technocrats under the supervision of Sata’s brother-in-marriage, Fredson Yamba who is Secretary to the Treasury.

According to the source, some after thoughts in the budget were only inserted last night without the knowledge and approval from the president and cabinet ministers.

Those who have worked in previous administration have told the Watchdog that weeks preceding budget preparation and presentation is the most strenuous for the president and his ministers as it calls for regular meetings and stakeholders consultations, sometimes till late hours before approval.

Two weeks ago when opening parliament, President Sata kept on skipping some pages he did not agree with on the floor of the house.

Particularly, the president completely omitted the pages on land issues and ordered the Minister of Lands to instead go with a ministerial statement to parliament as he did not have sufficient details.

In the past, some cabinet ministers and PF party officials have complained of lack of meetings and consultations on many issues.

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