K312m estimated for presidential election re-run

A total of K312.4 million has been projected as the amount required for Zambians to go for a presidential election re-run if there will be no clear winner in the August 11 general elections going by the 50 percent plus one vote provision in the amended Constitution.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda made the indication when he presented a supplementary budget in Parliament yesterday.

He said the decision to provide for the funds for a possible re-run in the 2016 election was in accordance with Article 101 (3) of the amended Constitution.

Mr Chikwanda said this after he presented a total supplementary estimates budget of K1.85 billion for various national needs including elections.

He said the supplementary estimates no.1 of 2016 was necessary in order to allow Government spend funds in line with the expenditure related to the 2016 general elections.

But Luena ADD Member of Parliament Gertrude Imenda, who is chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, accused the Government of requesting the money for use by the ruling party in its campaigns.

Supporting the motion, Ms Imenda said the Government wanted the money for its election campaign as the reasons put forward by the minister were not convincing.

Mr Chikwanda, in his response, dispelled the assertions raised by the Luena lawmaker. He said the resources were meant to allow Government spend on elections and other unavoidable expenditures that could not be foreseen at the time of budgeting, such as the disaster-related activities and the establishment and operations of the Constitutional Court.

Mr Chikwanda explained that a further K225.5 million was needed under the Ministry of Local Government and Housing for loans and investment to cover payments for the National Water Supply and Sanitation Programme. He said the funds allocated to the Ministry of Local Government were released by cooperating partners in the first quarter of 2016, but were not part of the 2016 budget estimates appropriated by Parliament.

“Sir, a total sum of K127.8 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Defence obligations. The Judiciary has been allocated a total sum of K96.7 million to establish and operationalise the Constitutional Court and the Court of Appeal in line with the requirement under the newly-enacted Constitution,” Mr Chikwanda said.

He said a further K30.5 million had been allocated under his ministry to cater for emoluments and other conditions of service for judges expected to serve under the two courts.

“The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has been allocated a total sum of K50 million. The amount will be applied on disaster-related activities that could not be foreseen at the time of budgeting, such as the negative effects of the resettlement of some foreign nationals who were displaced by riots related to the recent ritual murders,” he said.

Mr Chikwanda explained that of the total supplementary request which stood at K1.85 billion, a sum of K5.52 million represented savings declared within the approved budget and K4.5 million was in respect of funds released to institutions towards the end of the financial year 2015 and spent in 2016.

He said a further amount of K324.09 million represented funds that were released to various Government institutions during the year by cooperating partners but were not budgeted for in the current financial year.

Mr Chikwanda said Government was expected to finance the balance of K1.51 billion through general revenues, by implementing expenditure re-alignments especially on slow moving items in the 2016 approved Budget.

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