By Andrew Magombo:
Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe on Friday presented the much anticipated Budget Statement for the 2023/2024 fiscal year under the theme: “Sacrificing today for a better tomorrow: Regaining macroeconomic stability and growth through collective responsibility for our shared future.”
Addressing the National Assembly on Thursday Gwengwe said a total expenditure for the new fiscal year to start on 1st April, 2023 and end on 31st March 2024 has been projected at K3.87 trillion representing 25.5 of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister said 76.9 percent of the budget total expenditure will cover recurrent expenses estimated at K2.98 trillion whereas the remaining 23.1 percent estimated at K896.21 billion has been slated for development expenditure with foreign sources and domestic sources sharing the composition of K600.28 billion and K295.83 respectively.
Some of the key highlights of 2023/2024 budget include introduction of transport allowance to all civil servants and salary increment by eight percent as the current wage bill has been estimated at K897 billion representing 23.2 percent of total expenditure and 30 percent of recurrent expenditure.
Government has also slated K3.16 billion to enable the doubling of the honorarium for Chiefs not only for recognition of their roles towards the country’s development, but also as their perks are low having been revised years ago.
The Education sector has received a lion’s share of the budget with an estimated K603.36 billion with a number of projects lined up including construction of Inkosi Mmbelwa University, Schools of Excellency, teachers’ houses, girls’ hostels, classrooms, laboratories and also infrastructure rehabilitation in Public Universities.
Other key sectors include Health Sector with an allocation of K330 billion, Transport and Infrastructure at K246.29 billion, whilst local councils have had an increase with their allocation pegged at K488.09 billion.
The house has since been adjourned to 20 March as Cluster Committees are expected to scrutinise the budget in the next two weeks before the House reconvenes.