Yes, we burst the budget-Chikwanda

Civil Servants will not get their new 100 percent salary increments next month as promised by government.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda admitted that the government would not meet its obligation of paying the new 100 percent salary next month.

He said that government had already informed union leaders to communicate to their members about the development saying that the PF regime would only be able to raise and implement the new wage bill in October, 2013.

Mr. Chikwanda said that budget overrun was always a feature of national planning and it was not the first time the country was facing such a scenario leading to a cancellation or postponement of some activities as it happened before when the country wanted to meet the Highly Indebted Poor Country’s initiative (HIPC) benchmarks.

Last week Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba assured Civil Servants on Muvi TV’s assignment programme that government had enough money and would pay workers new salaries next month as promised by the PF.

Mr. Kabimba confidently assured the Civil Servants that they would have their new salaries in September as agreed with government and their unions.

Labour Minister who is acting information and Broadcasting Minister Fackson Shamenda on Saturday issued a statement denying that the PF had burst its budget.

FDD president Edith Nawakwi while featuring on Let the People Speak Programme on Phoenix Radio informed the nation  that Zambia was in a budget deficit of about K5 trillion (un-rebased) or K5 billion because of what  she described as ‘stupid’ by-elections induced by the PF government.

Yesterday Mr. Chikwanda said that budget overruns were a normal process in running a government and were provided for by law, which allowed government to come up with a supplementary budget in order to cushion other activities.

He said that the budgetary deficit the country was experiencing in the 2013 work plan was as a result of unbudgeted and unplanned for expenditures recorded by the PF government.

“There is a budgetary overrun but you must understand that deficits are normal. They happen everywhere as a result of unplanned activities and that is why we have contingent fund. There is nothing strange or wrong about it but what is important is that government is putting up measures to address that. The treasury will devise to cut the deficit. So don’t forget that the huge increment in public service wages which comes into effect in September has also contributed and we have been talking with unions that they will be able to get their salaries in October and not September as promised,” said Mr. Chikwanda.

Mr. Chikwanda said that the budget deficit the country was experiencing was because of multiplicity of things such as the huge expenditure on maize purchases by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the oil import bill before the subsidies on fuel were removed.

He also said that the global economic situation had not been favorable to Zambia, adding that the situation posed a challenge to government on the revenue side as government failed to match its projected financing requirements.

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