To finance public service delivery, government in January 2024 released K13.3 billion including transfers, subsidies and social benefits, among other areas.
Out of this amount, K4.2 billion was released to service both external and domestic debt.
This is contained in a report on January, 2024 Budget Releases issued by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning on Sunday.
The report showed that K2.6 billion was for transfers, subsidies and social benefits, K1.5 billion for implementation of various government programmes and general operations and K841.3 million for capital expenditure.
“The Treasury released a total of K2.6 billion for transfers and subsidies, of which, notable expenditure items under this category, included: K543.5 million as grants to schools to support the free education policy; K449.7 million for operations of hospitals and grant aided institutions in government ministries.
“Others are K314.3 million for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for bursaries and skills development, K242.5 million for the Social Cash Transfer Programme, K200 million to the Public Service Pension Funds as funding gap and an operation grant, K120.8 million to the Local Government Equalization Fund, K120.1 million for universities operations and students’ loans and scholarships,” the report showed.
On the debt, the report showed that K4.2 billion was channeled towards debt servicing.
Zambia’s external debt stands at US$14.3 billion as at end-September 2023.
This was from US$13.9 billion recorded as at end December 2022.
On debt, the report showed that: “In line with government’s commitment to reducing its indebtedness, a total sum of K4.2 billion was released.
“Of this amount, K3.9 billion was released towards the payment of both domestic and external debt service while K286.5 million was for dismantling of arrears.”
Recently at the Symposium on the 2023 Budget Performance and Economic Developments in Lusaka, Felix Nkulukusa, Secretary to the Treasury, attributed the rising debt to the continued costs on existing project loans largely from multilateral institutions.
Nkulukusa also attributed the swelling of the external debt to a few bilateral creditors financing on-going priority infrastructure projects.
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