Government has raised K15.4 billion revenue from January to June, this year and used the same amount of money so the budget is balanced, contrary to Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda’s admittance a few days ago that budget was not balanced as there was a deficit which was normal.
Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba, says out of the K15.4 billion, K11.0 billion was realized from domestic tax and non-tax revenue sources, K4.4 billion from issuance of treasury bills and government bonds within the programmed levels for the 2013 budget.
Mr Yamba says K697.7 million came from foreign grants for both budget and project support while K15.4 billion was released for development programmes, social services, as well as to facilitate government operations in ministries, provinces and spending agencies.
He says some funds were released towards the debt service payments, Ministries Provinces and Spending Agencies (MPSAs) and Extra Budgetary Expenditure.
Mr Yamba said this in a press statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka yesterday by Ministry of Finance Public Relations Officer, Chileshe Kandeta.
“The expenditure for the six months is equal to the revenues which were mobilized and so, this means that the budget was balanced,” said Mr Yamba.
He said a total of K1.2 billion was released for debt service payments and out of this amount, K673.2 million went towards payments of interest on government bonds and treasury bills while the balance of K574.2 million went towards external debt service payments.
He said a total of K9.1 billion was released to MPSAs for operations and development programmes, of which K1.7 billion was released for road construction and maintenance, K365.8 million for ZESCO power rehabilitation, K618.5 million for rail line rehabilitation under Zambia Railways Limited and K106.9 million to the Development Bank of Zambia for on-lending to Small and Medium Enterprises among other expenditures.
Mr Yamba added that in line with government’s commitment to ensure the availability at fordable credit to public service workers, a total of K23 million was released to facilitate the operationalization and commencementof disbursements under the Public Service Micro-Finance Company.
Mr Yamba said the Public Service Pensions Fund got K337.1 million, representing 7.4 per cent higher than the initial budget in order to facilitate the speedy payment of benefits to retired public service workers.
The Secretary to the Treasury said to avoid unsustainable borrowing and to cushion the impact of intense, government participated in the domestic capital market while the treasury made expenditure savings from within the budgets for the MPSAs that were seeking extra-budgetary funding of K1.7 billion.
On by-elections, Mr Yamba said it is important to stress that the government makes resources available under the contingency budget line to carter for all unforeseen and unavoidable expenditures, including by-elections.
He said a provision of K90.1 million was allocated and approved by Parliament as a contingency provision for 2013 and a further K4 million as an allocation for by-elections for this year.
He disclosed that the treasury has released K44 million to the Electoral Commission of Zambia for all by-elections representing a 2.8 per cent.
He assured that expenditures on by-elections have not affected the implementation of planned developmental projects.
“The key lesson learnt from budget performance in the first six months of 2013 points to the need for enhancing implementation of development programmes so as to accelerate the benefits of improved public service delivery,” said the Secretary to the Treasury.