Focus national budget on good governance, democracy-FODEP

Government should allocate more funds in the 2017 national budget to sectors that promote governance and democracy, human rights, social protection and poverty reduction, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has advised. FODEP executive director, Chimfwembe Mweenge said that the budget presentation was a good opportunity for the Patriotic Front (PF) government led by President Edgar Lungu to prove to Zambians that it was determined to improve the welfare of citizens. Mr Mweenge implored the State to take stock of the previous expenditure and make honest assessment to see if key objectives of previous budgets were attained by the successive Government, stating that only then could a proper assessment be attained whether to have faith in the new budget or not. He said that the non-governmental organisation expected to see a sufficient allocation to sectors that promote governance and democracy, human rights, social protection and poverty reduction as well as clear fiscal discipline and sustainable policy measures. “The 2017 budget that would be presented to the people of Zambia, through the Parliament should be of importance to every Zambian since our common society is shaped, directed and managed by the budget of government. “We believe that 11th November presents yet another opportunity for the PF government led by President Edgar Lungu, to prove to Zambians what it can do to improve the life of our people. “With that said, it is our expectation to see sufficient allocation to sectors that promote governance and democracy, human rights, social protection and poverty reduction. This, we expect to be coupled with clear fiscal discipline and sustainable policy measures,” he said. Mr Mweenge said that the NGO sought to remind the Government that the building and consolidating of mutual and cordial State-society relations was fundamental to economic development. The FODEP boss said that other institutions that needed to be considered for increased budgetary allocation were the Office of the Public Prosecutor and watchdog institutions such as the Judiciary, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Auditor General’s Office in order for them to fully fight the corruption cancer and enhance transparency.