For Immediate Press Release I 26th September 2019
The Zambia Tax Platform believes that the budget consultation process for the 2020 national budget was not done adequately and as such may not truly reflect the wishes of the people. None the less, ZTP is hopeful that a number of key issues affecting the nation will be addressed.
Social protection has seen a reduction in spending and this has affected the quality of life of poor Zambians. As ZTP, we expect that government to increase the budget allocation towards social protection. Marginalized groups; the disabled, the elderly and children must be targeted for social cash transfers and the funds must be disbursed to the planned beneficiaries. Furthermore, Education and Health are important areas towards human development. We expect government to address key issues such as maternal health. Deliberate efforts to address the rights of disabled school going children through a budgetary allocation must be made.
The platform is deeply concerned with the current debt situation in the country which has impacted on government spending towards other sectors. ZTP expects government to produce a clear plan on how it will mitigate the impact of debt accumulation on the country’s economic integrity. This must include parliamentary oversight on debt contraction and commitment to austerity measures.
Debt servicing especially on foreign owed debt has greatly contributed to the reduction of the country’s foreign exchange reserves which currently can only support 1.6 months of import cover at about $1.4 billion (BOZ, 2019). The country will need liquidity and should seek to engage the IMF for support. Furthermore, fiscal discipline must be observed. Government must not spend more than it has such that the country lives beyond its means. Austerity measures are inevitable but discipline must start from leadership before it can be imposed to the people
The reality of climate change is now clear. There must be sustainable solutions to climate change and these must be implemented effectively rather than proclamations in media statements – according to research, 1.7 million people in Zambia are on the verge of hunger and this number is expected to rise to 2.3 million from October 2019 to March 2020 (DG ECHO, 2019). Crop yields have reduced and dependence on rainfall is no longer sustainable. As ZTP, we expect measures that are aimed at addressing this in the 2020 national budget. We expect government to dedicate more resources towards irrigation equipment in light of climate change and also make flexible the importation of such facilities. We also expect that the farmers input support program will be rolled out 100% nationwide and that this will be done through the E- Voucher.
Government’s administrative budget must be reduced without compromising on social spending. The country must also begin to move towards budgetary targets set in protocols that it is party to such as 10% of public expenditure being allocated towards agriculture as set the Malabo Declaration – other protocols include SADC and COMESA protocols.
ZTP believes that such are measures that the government must embark on to fix the current economic situation, in a bid to enhance efforts towards domestic resource revenue, it is our further expectation that government considers raising domestic resources from taxing harmful products such as tobacco. In this light, our hope is that government will adopt the recommendations that were given by the Zambia Tax Platform for the 2020 national budget.
Zambia Tax Platform Coordinator
The following organisations are the Zambia Tax Platform members:
- Action Aid Zambia
- Centre For Trade Policy and Development (CTPD)
- Zambia Civic Education Association (ZCEA)
- Consumer Unit and Trust Society (CUTS)
- Caritas Zambia
- CSO SUN (Civil Society for Scaling Up Nutrition)
- Green Life Conservation of Zambia (GLCZ)
- Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR)
- Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR)
- The Policy and Governance Centre (PGC)
- Southern Africa Cross Boarders Trade Association (SACBTA)
- Young Volunteers for the Environment
- The Non-Governmental Gender Organization Coordinating Council (NGGOCC)
- Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD)
- Save the Children Zambia
- Transparency International Zambia (TIZ)
- Economics Association of Zambia
- Water Aid
- Development Finance Associates