THE Ministry of Finance and National Planning has cautioned people against falling prey to a fake empowerment scheme being spread by some people because it is not part of the budget.
And the ministry released K10.9 billion in June to finance public service delivery and developmental programmes.
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said the reported empowerment scheme was fake and not part of the budget which should be ignored.
Dr Musokotwane cautioned the public that those who would ignore the warning risked losing money and exposing themselves to fraud.
This was contained in a statement released by acting Secretary to the Treasury Felix Nkulukusa in Lusaka yesterday.
He said that the practice of impersonating public sector institutions and officials by fraudulent money schemers was becoming prevalent and disclosed that the Zambia Police Service, Zambia Information and Communications Authority (ZICTA) and other related authorities would be engaged.
Dr Musokotwane said this was to ensure that perpetrators were identified, captured and presented to court for the stiffest possible punishment.
In addition to the routine process of reporting the perpetrators to police, citizens would in a few days be guided on how to identify fraudulent schemes and report fraudsters in a just manner.
The minister advised administrators of online platforms to verify with the Government before publishing any information bordering on public money matters.
He also urged citizens to take personal responsibility and ensure that personal information was protected from online scammers.
On the budget performance, he said the Government was pleased with the positive performance trajectory of the 2023 Budget, which had seen the sustained financing of social sectors and meeting of several Budget obligations for the current year.
Commenting on the release of K10.9 billion in June, Dr Musokotwane said K4.9 billion was spent on debt service (domestic and external) and arrears while K3.7 billion was released for the public service wage bill. Additionally, K673.5 million was released for transfers, subsidies and social benefits.
He said the Treasury further released K1.3 million for implementation of various Government programmes and general operations, while K407.6 million was spent on road infrastructure.
The minister said the Government released a total of K673.5 million towards transfers and subsidies while K258.7 million was for the operations of hospitals and grant-aided institutions and K115.1 million for universities operations and K111.6 million to the Local Government Equalisation Fund.
For general operations, the Treasury also released K1.3 billion to facilitate service delivery under various ministries, provinces and agencies and on capital expenditure, a sum of K407.6 million was released towards road infrastructure rehabilitation and construction in various locations, countrywide. On debt and other liabilities, in line with the Government’s commitment to reduce indebtedness, a sum of K3.9 billion was released in June towards payment of both domestic and external debt, while K906.1 million was for dismantling of arrears owed to suppliers of goods and services.
Dr Musokotwane also said the 2024-2026 Medium-Term-Expenditure- Framework Green Paper would be published within the next one week for public review, analysis and feedback before the Government progressed to finalise the 2024 National Budget which would be presented to the National Assembly in September.