Mutati unvails K64.5 billion 2017 national budget

Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati, has announced a 64.5 billion Kwacha 2017 National budget, representing a 27.7 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

He says 42.9 billion will be financed through domestic revenues, 2.2 billion through grants from cooperating partners and 19.3 billion, through debt financing from domestic and external resources.

The budget was presented under the theme “Restoring Fiscal Fitness for Sustained Inclusive Growth and Development”.

The finance minister has allocated 218. 4 million Kwacha to CDF, the Constituency Development Fund, saying this will help in ensuring that communities continue taking part in developmental projects.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mutati has increased the exempt threshold for PAYE, Pay As You Earn from 3, 000 to 3, 300 Kwacha.

Mr. Mutati has allocated 18 billion Kwacha for general public services, of which 11.5 billion kwacha will go towards internal and external debt servicing.

And the Farmer Input Support Program, FISP has been allocated 2.9 billion Kwacha and will target one million small scale farmers.

He emphasized that the program will be implemented entirely through the E-Voucher System.

The finance minister also announced an increase in excise duty on air time from 15 percent to 17.5 percent.

He also pushed the allocation for social protection by 85 percent, to 2.7 billion Kwacha in order to cushion the vulnerable.

And Mr. Mutati announced that Government will be reviewing the performance of many State Owned Enterprises, such as Zesco, Zamtel, Zambia National Building Society, Indeni, TAZAMA Pipeline, Zambia Railways and Zambia State Insurance Corporation in 2017.

He explained that the country has to make hard and difficult decisions on resource usage as it strives through the economic recovery.

Mr. Mutati further said government will promote skills training for youths and ensure that more teachers are employed to reduce the teacher pupil ratio.

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