2017 Budget will be private sector led, says Mutati


By Nation Reporter

FINANCE Minister Felix Mutati says the 2017 national Budget will be private sector led.

Speaking at a GRZ/private sector consultative meeting in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Mutati said the putting together of previous Budgets had proved a bit more difficult and that what was usually submitted did not even bring out the intended purposes.

Mr Mutati said the Ministry of Finance would soon have a  Budget debate prior to its formulation by inviting the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) to make its submissions and would be advised on what Government would take so that they moved on and became messengers to the nation.

“In about four weeks, my ministry will meet with the chairman of ZACCI as a smaller group so that we deal with all those issues you have listed in a lot more depth and see that the next Budget can be better owned by all of us,’’ he said.

He said Government and the private sectors would formulate a recovery programme that would be ‘‘owned by ourselves for accountability and be responsible for that’’.

“It’s not an IMF programme but only a supportive component, hence the responsibility and accountability remains ours and the IMF was not a bailout,” he said.

Mr Mutati believed that by being open and transparent, it could enable the Government make necessary changes and grow the economy because it would allow concerted efforts from stakeholders.

He said Government would formulate policy reforms that were going to follow transactions and it was going to work with the private sector to generate business and commercial solutions and that the Government was not in the business of dispatching savers that would not grow the economy.

And Commerce Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said micro-economic stability was pivotal and the key driver for the growth of the economy.

Ms Mwanakatwe said once there was micro-economic stability in Zambia, the economy would be competitive, dynamic, self-sustaining and resilient against external shocks so that it becomes less dependent on donor funds.

Meanwhile, National Development Panning Minister Lucky Mulusa said Government was aware of the many challenges the private sector was facing.

And speaking on behalf of ZACCI president Geoffrey Sakulanda, vice-president for industry and manufacturing Professor Pinalo Chifwanakeni noted that the Value Added Tax (VAT) no. 18 has posed a challenge in business operations despite its amendment in 2015.