THE CIVIL Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has called on relevant authorities to exercise maximum fiscal discipline in the implementation and execution of the 2016 national budget if the country is to address the current and future social and economic challenges and reverse the economic shocks the country is facing.
CSPR Luapula provincial coordinator Hope Mwelaisha said the country’s economy was not sustainable due to the faling copper prices on the international market, power deficit and volatility of the kwacha.
Ms Mwelaisha also urged Government to ensure that the 2016 budget looks at achievable long term and sustainable measures if the country was to maintain a predictable economic growth while maintain fiscal discipline.
“CSPR in Luapula is expecting that the Ministry of Finance will ensure increased domestic revenue to sustainably finance poverty reduction programmes and promote national development through increased equity in revenue collection and expenditure,” she said.
Ms Mwelaisha said the budget must demonstrate and show clear links between the policy pronouncements made and the finances available to actualize the President’s speech that spelled out hope for economic growth.
“As CSPR we would like to see a strict adherence of the budget execution that is linked to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the aspirations of the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP),” she said.
She said it was the wish of CSPR to challenge Government spending agencies to adhere to the adjustments made due to the challenging economic environment.
Ms Mwelaisha also appealed to the Government to maintain the fiscal stance, and avoid wasteful expenditures in the current global economic environment and stick to the theme of the 2016 budget, “Fiscal consolidation to safeguard our past achievements and secure a prosperous future for all”.
Ms Mwelaisha said the Government should ensure that the macroeconomic policies, targets, sectoral objectives and strategies for the 2016 budget were aimed at sustaining socio-economic progress while ensuring that Government follows a fiscally prudent path.
She said CSPR was aware that the tax administration system in Zambia faced several challenges such as large informal cash economy, low taxpayers compliance and other complexities.
“Government can do more to assist Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to become more pro-active in revenue collection and management as it faces challenges and has limited their ability to collect taxes more efficiently to ensure infrastructural and technological development,” she said.