HE budget under review is evidently a survival plan for a Third World country that landed in the wave of adverse economic bruises occasioned by the novel Coronavirus of 2019.
There are more positives as contrasted with negatives on the K119, 616 011 615 Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu presented to Parlia-ment.
With all the reservoir of average intellect imbued in them, the Ministry of Finance played a critical role in ensuring that the document was an inclusive one.
In fact, a careful study of the document makes a resounding and unequivocal revelation that the budget is private sector and local business driven as it seeks to upgrade the local entrepreneurship into a flock of Zambian emerging multinational corporations.
The Agriculture sector is one of the game changers which can turn the fortunes of Zambia and in the long term assume the local rather than the import driven economy. The technical local down was the wake-up call that Zambia should navigate toward self-dependent serve where it is absolutely compelling. Government has proposed to spend K5, 701 404, 933 on farmer input support program.
Diversification plays a critical role in development of the nation, the Seventh National Development Plan clearly states Government’s aspi-ration with regards to delivering prosperous middle – income economy that offers decent employment opportunities for all Zambians by har-nessing opportunity for economic diversification and growth.
The route to prosperity has now waged. It is for this reason that the 2021budget highlighted various efforts Government has and will con-tinue making with regards to diversification.
The Agriculture sector of the economy will soon become a lucrative hobby unlike in the past were it was a preoccupation of the least privi-leged in society. The minister announced that agriculture sector performed very well in the 2019/2020 farming season, in most crops the country recorded an increase in production, for instance a 69 percent increase to 3.4 million tonnes from 2.0 million tonnes in the 2018/2019 farming season.
This was on account of early distribution of farming inputs and favorable weather conditions. The minister announced a budget of K5, 701, 404, 933 which is 4.8 of the total budget. This and information and technology are the sectors that are expected to grow despite the pandemic. The minister also announced that Government will migrate all beneficiaries under the Farmer Input Support programme to the cost effective e-voucher system, the proportion of beneficiaries will be increased to 100 percent over the medium term.
Furthermore to support the scaling up of agricultural productivity through mechanization, the Minister proposed a zero rate for all tractors for all value added tax purposes, this is commendable as this will encourage a lot of people to venture into this sector which will result into the reduction of food inflation.
MARVIN CHANDA MBERI and GEORGE LAMBI,