Social protection for consumers needed – CUTS

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 11:37:14 +0000



 GOVERNMENT should effectively implement a social protection programme for consumers as planned in the approved 2017 national Budget to ensure that it reaches the intended beneficiaries, says Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS).

CUTS Zambia centre coordinator Chenai Mukumba said it was comforting to note that the Government was aware that the proposed economic recovery programme would have a negative effect on society, hence the need for protection packages.

“Government intends to up-scale its social protection programmes by 85 per cent to K2.7 billion in 2017 in order to mitigate the adverse effects on vulnerable households.

“As CUTS it is our hope that firstly, the social protection programme that will be implemented over the course of 2017 is done so effectively to ensure that it reaches the intended beneficiaries,” she said.

Ms Makumba observed that the figures of the targeted beneficiaries still remained marginal in comparison to the number of people living in poverty in Zambia despite the expansion of the social programmes.

“Additionally, one of our fears is that due to these austerity measures we may see an increase in poverty statistics as some households are unable to cope with these measures,” he said.

She further said it was important to ensure that Government’s advice to tighten belts applied not only to ordinary citizens but that the burden will be borne equitably by all.

“While the minister made it clear that as a country we will have to tighten our belts, it is important to ensure that this applies not only to ordinary citizens, the burden must be borne equitably by all,” she said.

Ms Makumba also said 2016 was not an easy year for consumers.

“On expectations for 2017, we gladly note that the Budget indicated that there would be an increase in the exempt threshold for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from K3,000 to K3,300 per month and as such, all other income bands would need to be adjusted accordingly.

“However, to mitigate the revenue loss, there will be an increase in the top marginal tax rate from 35 percent to 37.5 percent,” she said.


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