The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has agreed with most independent minded individuals that the 2015 PF budget is generally rubbish.
SACCORD director Boniface Cheembe says his organization is disappointment with the failure by the Minister of Finance to positively respond to the many aspirations of stakeholders with regards to the 2015 budget.
Cheembe said SACCORD is also disappointed that key sectors such as Health, Education and Agriculture have seen reductions in the budget allocation for the year 2015 with the construction sector receiving more funds as compared to 2014.
‘The constructive sector has been a source of concern with the way contracts are being awarded. We urge the minister to ensure that the sector benefits all the people of Zambia,’ he said.
‘In our case of major disappointment is the failure by the government to provide sufficient funds to enable the constitution making process to be completed. We find the K29.3 million allocated to the process insufficient considering that together with most stakeholders, we have been calling to an expedited constitution making process which is supposed to end with a referendum adopting the new constitution in readiness for the 2016 general elections,’ Cheembe explained.
He said that ‘Over the years we have noted that the electoral process has been a potential source of conflict and that measures should have been taken to ensure that genuine and honest reforms are undertaken so as to prevent electoral conflicts. With the failure to address concerns within Zambia’s electoral laws and system, the potential for conflict as a result of a poorly managed electoral system still abound in this environment and the effects could be worse than what was experienced in other African countries.’
Cheembe said SACCORD also feelS that the budget should have had more policies that seek to sustain current jobs while seeking to create many more so that the poverty people are experiencing as a result of lack of employment can be reduced.
‘The major losers again are the young people of Zambia who are being ignored in terms of creating a suitable environment for them to get jobs or engage in sustainable income generating activities,’ bemoaned Cheembe.
Cheembe said while more schools and universities are allegedly either being built or upgraded, there has not been a corresponding program on the part of government to ensure that the many young professionals who are graduating from these institutions get to be employed.
‘While few may be employed under the health and education sectors, many more will still have to wait or survive by engaging in jobs that are outside their areas of training. We would like to remind the government that Zambia will only prosper when these professionals are put to good use. It is government’s responsibility to ensure that it provides for its nationals not only those that are its supporters and where they seek to get benefits,’ he said.
Cheembe advised MPs to try and make the budget sensible and more progressive.
‘While our parliament debates the 2015 budget, in the interest of the nation, we call on Members of Parliament to introduce new proposals to strengthen this budget so that it is more centered on the people,’ he said.