– As govt fails to commence distributing agricultural inputs
There are growing speculations that minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe may not present the 2019 budget this Friday, 28 September 2018, as scheduled due to donor aid withdrawal.
The Watchdog understands that Ms Mwanakatwe is under pressure to postpone the budget presentation following the withdrawal of some financial support by donors.
Last week, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta announced that ‘over the last four (4) months, the Ministry of Finance has been conducting budget consultations and facilitating policy dialogue with all stakeholders and the general public throughout the country.’
But in the last few weeks, this has changed as donors have withdrawn part of budgetary support to Zambia forcing the ministry to edit the budget as no one knows when donors will lift the sanctions. A huge chunk of the budget depends on donor support so the budget.
Insiders tell the Watchdog that Mwanakatwe will either have to reschedule the presentation until donor component is taken care of or she will have to keep up appearance by presenting an empty budget.
Meanwhile, the government has failed to commence the distribution of agro inputs to farmers due to lack of funds.
On 1 July 2018, Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo announced in parliament that government would commence the distribution of supplies under the Farmer Input Support Program for the 2018/2019 framing season on 1st September 2018.
Today is 24 September 2018 but not even one farmer has received a bag of fertiliser. We understand government is trying to procure the inputs from agro dealers on credit.