SOCIALIST Party president Fred M’membe says the 2021 national budget is unjust and PF are just hiding how broke the country is.

He says deception is always a pretty contemptible vice, “but to deceive the poor is the meanest of crimes”.

On Friday, finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu said the K119.6 billion 2021 budget clearly lays a foundation for economic recovery, build resilience, safeguard livelihoods and protect the vulnerable.

Dr Ng’andu said the thrust and priority for 2021 and the medium-term will, therefore, be to re-invigorate growth, restore macroeconomic stability, attain fiscal fitness, restore debt sustainability and dismantle domestic arrears and at the same time safeguard social protection spending.

“Mr Speaker, I propose to spend K57.8 billion on General Public Services. Of this amount, domestic debt interest will account for K18.3 billion while external debt service will be K27.7 billion. In addition, K598.1 million is for the 2021 General Elections while K1.2 billion has been allocated to the Local Government Equalization Fund,” said Dr Ng’andu.

The budget total is K119.6 billion and the government projects that K68.0 billion would come from domestic revenues and grants, while the balance, K51.6, would be raised through financing.

But Dr M’membe argues that in budget terms, what the PF government have done is functional classification, “to hide how broke you are”.

“They won elections on the strength of their promises to put more money in our poor people’s pockets. It is true they never carried them out. Deception is always a pretty contemptible vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest of crimes,” said Dr M’membe, in a statement issued from Mwika Royal Village in Chinsali. “The budget is unjust than ever. Why place more burdens on the already overburdened poor people? They know their trials; God forbid that they should add one more grain of trouble to the anxiety which they bear with such patience and fortitude. They already have very serious problems meeting their debt obligations and are seeking rescheduling. But 51 per cent of their budget is to be funded through debt. And K58.310 billion is going to come from domestic resources and grants. This is actually their budget. In budget terms, what they have done is functional classification, to hide how broke you are.”

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