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The social and economic pain of politically induced by-elections

Filed under: Latest News,Politics |

In the 2018 Budget Address by the Minister of Finance on 29th September 2017, the PF Government promised the following (taken verbatim from the Budget Address):

“Food Security Pack: Mr. Speaker, in the 2018/2019 farming season, Government will increase the number of household beneficiaries under this programme to 80,000 from 40,000 in the 2017/2018 farming season. The objective of the programme is to support vulnerable but viable farmers.”

“Womens’ Development Programme: Mr. Speaker, Government will continue to implement the Womens’ Development Programme aimed at enhancing access to productive resources and entrepreneurship skills for poor and vulnerable women. Under this programme about 30,000 women will be empowered with productive grants and micro credit countrywide in 2018. In addition, Government with support from the World Bank is targeting to provide educational support to 16,000 girls from extremely poor households in 16 districts and a further 75,000 women with grants in 51 districts.”

However, in the first half of 2018, the PF Government forgot about its Budget Address promises, and instead decided to focus public resources on by-elections. The by-elections, which should have taken up ZK8.0 million out of the total budget of Jan-May 2018 took up 472% more than this or ZK37.8 million over the same period (chart in photo). At the same time, the Food Security Pack programme, which was budgeted at ZK40.0 million and the empowerment programmes budgeted at ZK38.1 million over Jan-May 2018 received absolutely nothing!

This means that 80,000 would-have-been household beneficiaries of the Food Security Pack went without the support they were promised out of taxpayer public resources. Furthermore, about 30,000 women who should have been empowered, 16,000 girls from extremely poor households who should have been given educational support, and a further 75,000 women who should have been given grants from public resources were completely abandoned by the Government. The taxpayers’ moneys were instead diverted to the financing of politically orchestrated by-elections.


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