Various sectors have expressed their expectations as Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati prepares to present the 2017 National Budget tomorrow.
Zambia National Union of Teachers, ZNUT Chipata District Chairperson, Isaac Ngoma, says it will be important for government to broaden its tax base in the private sector.
He says this will reduce the tax burden on the public sector, and will offer a tax relief to the sector.
Mr. Ngoma also says government should allocate more resources to the social sectors such as education and health and ensure that it puts aside funds in the national budget to clear the huge allowance arrears owed to public service workers.
Meanwhile, in the Agricultural Sector, Zambia National Farmers Union, ZNFU Provincial Coordinator, Virgil Malambo, expects government to zero rate agricultural implements and equipment.
He says this will allow farmers to import farming equipment with less challenges.
Mr. Malambo also says ZNFU expects that enough resources will be allocated to support farming activities such as the extension services, which are currently affected by low funding.
And Maxson Nkhoma, who Civil Society for Poverty Reduction, CSPR, Advocacy and Communication Programme Coordinator, hopes the 2017 National Budget will show the country’s ability to shift from its dependency on the mining sector and diversify towards agriculture.
He says CSPR also hopes that government will consider reviewing the Pay as You Earn threshold from the current 3,000 to 4,000 Kwacha, to allow middle class people have disposable income to afford a decent life.
He adds that while it is inevitable that austerity measures need to be implemented, government must guard against impoverishing its citizens and must ensure that the removal of subsidies is done in such a way that it gives citizens space to have a decent living.