Government will invest in education to better economy – Dr Musokotwane

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MINISTER of Finance and National planning Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says the modern day economy revolves around education hence governments resolve to invest in education and have a well-taught citizenry.

During a media briefing on the implementation of the 2024 national budget Dr Musokotwane announced that 4, 200 teachers will be recruited this year while, the Civil service will consider creating room for 1, 200 people in various sectors.

The minister said government decided to scrap off subsidies on fuel and divert the funds towards the education sector as it it would be a catastrophe to have a citizenry that is unskilled.

“Modern economy today hinges on education it’s not just about physical power it’s about human beings who are knowledgeable those who are able to manufacture phones, those who are able to write computer programs that’s were these jobs are related to,” Dr Musokotwane explained.

“If we don’t educate our people it is doom! This is why we were able to say the subsidies on fuel must shift to education. It’s a matter of priority instead of giving me money for cheap fuel when the schools have no teachers, chalk , children are failing to go to school.”

The minister also indicated that government will not contract debt without seeking the approval of parliament.

He indicated that the budget will not be impaired by the debt restructuring process which will be concluded in the first quarter of 2024.

And in relation to unlocking the nation’s economy Dr Musokotwane said 80 percent of the nation’s budget whose estimation is K178 billion will come from domestic revenue.

He said the budget is expected to be funded from three sources, 80 percent domestic revenue with a target of K141.1 billion, K3.4 billion as expected grants from co-operating partners translating to 2 percent of the 2024 Budget; and, Debt contraction amounting to K33.3 billion translating to 19 percent of the budget or 5.2 percent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

Dr Musokotwane indicated that government’s goals in in unlocking the Country’s economic potential are attaining a real GDP growth rate of 4.8 percent, reducing inflation to the 6-8 percent medium-term target band, maintaining international reserves above three months of import cover and increasing domestic revenue to 22 percent of GDP.

He said other objectives are to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4.8 percent of GDP and control domestic borrowing to less than 2.5 percent of GDP.

Dr Musokotwane further indicated that
expenditure policies to be implemented in 2024 are premised on the thematic areas of the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) and the pillars are Economic Transformation and Job Creation, Human and Social Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Good Governance Environment.

About K40 billion will be allocated to the Economic Transformation and Job Creation, and K8.3 will be channeled towards road infrastructure.

K13.8 has been reserved for Agriculture, Fisheries and livestock of which K8.6 billion will go towards the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), K1.7 billion will be used to purchase grains, K598.4 million has been set aside for Irrigation and farm block development and K498 million will be used for animal disease control.

Dr Musokotwane said the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was increased to K4.8 billion in 2024 from K3.55 Billion in 2023 and each constituency will receive K30.6 million in 2024.

He indicated that CDF will be disbursed on time so that citizens can take advantage of the bursary facilities to ensure that children are in school.

About 60 billion has been allotted towards human and social development with education getting the lion’s share of K27.4 billion for teacher recruitment seconded by health with K20.9 billion to carter for the recruitment of health personnel.

K1.4 billion will go towards environmental sustainability in order to address the effects of climate change.

Kalemba January 5, 2024.

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