THE Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) says the 2020 National Budget that was presented last week by Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu will unlock liquidity in the economy.

In a statement to the media, ZACA Executive Secretary Juba Sakala said the budget will stimulate economic activities and growth.

“We welcome the 2020 National Budget presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu. We welcome it because its apparent thrust is on unlocking liquidity in the economy thereby stimulating economic activity and growth. This is what people want,” he said.

ZACA also commended the Finance Minister’s proposal to reduce the waiting time for public service workers between retirement and receipts of pension benefits.

Sakala said the intention to prioritise retirees and suppliers were matters that people have been complaining about for a long time.

He said it was gratifying that government is now respondingto the lng held concerns of people.

Sakala, however, said ZACA welcomed the budget with caution based on past experience.

He said it wa one thing to construct a good budget but quite faithful to implement it.

“We think as  a country our failings have always been on implementing the budget. Previous Ministers have presented flowerly budgets before but with very disappointing outcomes,” he said.

Sakala cited this yea’s budget that was presented by Margaret Mwanakatwe which prmised to release monthly disbursement to Public Service Pensions Funds (PSPF) for payment of pension benefits but a check by the ZACA revealed that only three disbursements were effected in ten months. So our view is that the new Minister has a mountain to climb and for society to fully appreciate him, he must walk the talk. He must also demonstrate that he can faithfully implement the 2020 budget by ensuring that the current budget targets are achieved,” he said.

Sakala furher said ZACA was aware that as the country will be drawing closer to the 2021 general elections, there will be even greater pressure on the treasury, so the Minister must demonstrate now than later, that he was man of his words.

He added that ZACA was concerned with domestic arrears accumulating to K20.2 billion as at June this year, the Minister has only allocated K2.3 billion for the dismantling of domestic arrears.

He said ZACA was equally concerned that although there was no proposal for direct tax increases in the budget, the Minister proposed to revise upwards to cost reflective levels  various fees and fines charged by government departments under non tax revenue measures adding that this has the potential to raise the cost of living with negativity consequences on consumers.

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2020 NATIONAL BUDGET Fiscal Discipline Zaca