• This should be done in a bid to alleviate the impact of the rising cost of living on the entire workforce.
• TI-Z expects government to maintain or reduce domestic resource mobilization target.
• This is aimed at reducing the tax burden as a measure to alleviate the rising cost of living.
Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) says it expects government to reduce Pay As you Earn (PAYE) tax rates in the 2024 national budget by at least 2.5% across all the tax bands.
Organization Advocacy, Policy & Research Manager Bright Chizonde said this should be done in a bid to alleviate the impact of the rising cost of living on the entire workforce.
Mr. Chizonde stated that TI-Z also expects government to maintain or reduce domestic resource mobilization target, which was set at 20.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2023.
“This is aimed at reducing the tax burden as a measure to alleviate the rising cost of living, especially among the working class. As part of our expectations, we wish to see a budget crafted around a relevant theme which takes into account the current macroeconomic and socioeconomic context.”
“In terms of the macroeconomic objectives, we are looking forward to a higher economic growth target in line with Zambia’s long-term aspirations under Vision 2030. We should therefore seek to attain a real GDP growth rate of at least 5.0 percent in 2024,” Mr. Chizonde stated.
He added that while TI-Z expects government to increase budget allocations towards social sectors and law enforcement agencies, a minimal reduction in the total national budget from K172.99 billion in 2022 to K167.3 billion in 2023, coupled with increased allocations to the social sectors was commendable.
Mr. Chizonde also said the 2024 National Budget should avoid the error of being too ambitious on the expenditure side, as this would exert pressure on the resource envelope.
With regards to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), he cautioned government against significantly increasing the allocation, stressing the need for comprehensive audits to establish the value for money before increasing the funds.
“The CDF allocation was increased from K4 billion in 2022 to K4.4 billion in 2023. While we support the CDF programme, and would like to see increased allocations in future budgets, there is need for comprehensive audits to establish the value for money before increasing its allocation.”
“We are aware of escalating cases of abuse of CDF funds, and in such instances, we have submitted them to relevant Law Enforcement Agencies for further investigation. We therefore expect the government to maintain the CDF allocation, pending these audits and investigations in order to safeguard public funds,” he said.
Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, is expected to present and deliver Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2024, on Friday 29th September, 2023.