Mood among the citizenry of this country have had a feeling that Zambia deserves better and with the many natural resources endowed in the country, the nation should be more developed than the current state.
The Zambian social media and political arena has been awash with comments and debates about the first UPND budget which was delivered to Parliament by Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane.
Key points to note that in the Budget
1. The move to Triple the Copper Production to 3 Million Tonnes Annually in the next five years is a move in the right direction. With the country’s economy coming from a recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the kind of bold economic moves that the country needs to attain better GDP levels. The projected 3.5 GDP growth might seem not too ambitious but one thing of note is that once production stabilizes, the country can target higher levels of GDP growth. Copper Production projected to 3 Million Tonnes is a plus for the economy.
2. The move to increase FISP allocation from K2100 to K3600 should be commended and one that the many peasant farmers across the country should be happy about. Agriculture should serve as the backbone of the economy in years to come. So this is another positive move about the budget. The tax exemption on Maize export effective 10 November should push more farmers to produce more maize for the local and regional market.
3. The Constituency Development Fund has always been a contentious issue. Previously the allocation has been 1.6 Million. In the 2022 Budget, the allocation has been increased to 25.7 million. The much talked about Decentralization has seen for the first time, seem to have some political will. Constituencies should not have excuses of not undertaking most of the traditional projects at Constituency level. Key to that would Skills and Innovations being developed at Constituency level. The Administrators of the funds should be very prudent to avoid pilferage of National Resources. This once well managed and implemented it will bring development and money to the people.
4. When country is trying to recover from recession, the best solution is to reduce taxes and allow the citizens to have more to spend on goods and services. The move to increase the tax threshold from 4000 to 4500 in order to the less paid public workers have more to spend on goods and services. The double tax that the mines were subjected to which ultimately resulted in the government paying tax refunds. The new move will see the government earning more money from the mines. This is also likely to boost production in the mining sector.
5. Finally the proposed employment of 41200 Civil Servants should be one step increasing the number of people paying tax to the government. This is also likely provide a relief to the much taxed Public Service Workers with the proposal increase in tax threshold.
The National Budget should push every citizen to be productive so the country can fully realize it’s potential.