Finance and National Planning Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, has clarified that there are no errors in the K11.3 billion supplementary budget for 2023 as alleged by Chinsali Member of Parliament Kalalwe Mukosa.
Addressing Journalists at a media briefing in Lusaka on Sunday, Musokotwane said Parliament on Friday, unanimously passed the supplimentary budget, amounting to K11.3 billion.
He said the K298 million which had been added to the K2.7 billion Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for community projects was a carry over stock from last years’ budget.
“The MP assumed that there were errors because he did not understand the structure of the table he was referring to. He could have asked for clarification and understood how the table was structured, but instead he insisted that there were errors during the parliamentary session,” Musokotwane said.
He said Mukosa had misinterpreted the numbers he was looking at and the explanation which was given in Parliament during the debate on the budget was sufficient.
Musokotwane said government allocated a total sum of K4.4 billion for the 2023 CDF and this amount included various components such as funding for free education and the empowered programmes.
“There is also an Empowerment Programme that provides loans and grants to constituents. The bulk of the CDF, around K2.7 billion, is allocated for community projects such as building classrooms, teachers’ houses, clinics, housing for clinic workers, water boreholes, road, small bridges, and more,” he said.
Musokotwane said in the supplementary budget, government was adding an additional K298 million to the K2.7 billion for community projects and this was because last year, these funds were not utilized due to slow absorption of the CDF.
“Instead of recording this unspent money in the Treasury, we decided to carry it over to this year’s community projects in each constituency. We are adding it to the 2.7 billion to obtain the total available amount for CDF this year,” he said.
Musokotwane said the point of contention arose when Mukosa noticed what he believed to be errors and argued that government had only allocated K2.7 billion for CDF in 2023 instead of the correct amount of K4.4 billion.
“During the parliamentary debate, we explained that the K2.7 billion shown in the table was specifically for the community projects component of the CDF and the supplementation was only for this component,” Musokotwane said.
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