• The 2022 budget should address the debt burden.
• There is need to allocate more resources towards education, health and social protection.
• 2022 budget will be the first litmus test for the UPND government.
Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) says it expects the 2022 national budget to address the country’s debt burden which has continued to crowd-out the social sectors through demanding a greater share of the budget for debt servicing.
Organization Executive Director Maurice Nyambe told Money FM News that stakeholders expect government to allocate more resources towards education, health and social protection in order to reduce the vulnerabilities which trigger petty corruption.
Mr. Nyambe stated that next year’s budget must also reflect the progress made in implementing public procurement reforms which the previous administration committed to address in the 2021 financial plan.
“In the 2021 budget, government committed to introducing public procurement reforms in order to give priority to citizens to participate in the supply of goods and services, introduce price benchmarking, penalize fronting and selling of contracts, improve contract management, make it mandatory to use the Electronic Procurement System and penalize offenders.”
“TI-Z therefore expects the 2022 budget to reflect the progress made in implementing these reforms and develop new measures to curb corruption in the procurement system,” Mr. Nyambe said.
He further called on government to urgently publish and widely circulate the 2022 citizens’ budget.
“A citizens’ budget allows for easy understanding of the content of the budget and for a wider section of the general public to participate in the budgeting process,” he added.
And Mr. Nyambe advised Zambians to scrutinize next year’s national budget in search of indicators of prudent debt management, greater commitment to economic recovery and development among others.
“The UPND won the 2021 general elections on the promise of higher economic growth and prosperity, job creation, prudent management of public resources and good governance, among others. The 2022 budget will therefore be the first litmus test for the UPND government as to whether or not they are determined to deliver on their campaign promises.”
“The Zambian people are aware that the UPND administration has committed to deliver change in the way public resources are managed. The budget is therefore a critical tool for generating change through implementing measures aimed at reducing corruption in the budget cycle,” he stated.
The 2022 national budget, which will be presented to Parliament this Friday by Finance and National Planning Minister Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, is expected to reveal government’s key priorities for next year.