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‘Education no longer preserve of the rich

Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has that said it is evident that education is no longer the preserve of the rich but a service which is available to all the citizens.

He said this was demonstrated by the timely funding of school grants and other free education-related programmes under the New Dawn administration.

Dr Musokotwane said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that the New Dawn goernment was fulfilling its pledge to ensure that Zambians regardless of social status had access to education.

“We promised to take resources closer to the people and we are doing so through the 2023 CDF – there will be more in 2024. Through CDF, our citizens are now determining their own priorities at constituency level.

“As if this is not enough, we have continued the recruitment of teachers and health workers. We have strengthened social protection. We have reduced the waiting period for pension payments to three months from over three years,” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said despite the achievements being recorded, the Government was aware of the challenges related to the pace of job creation, cost of living and infrastructure development.

He was working towards addressing the high mealie-meal and fuel prices as well as the general high cost of living.

“The New Dawn administration is determined to continue confronting these challenges with the methodical zeal that it is known for,” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said the 2024 National Budget was a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to unlocking Zambia’s economy, uplifting the citizens’ livelihood and providing a conducive environment for private sector participation.

He appealed to public officials to ensure that they were efficient, honest and quick to facilitate private sector investments.

Meanwhile, Treasury released K12 billion towards public service delivery in September out of which K3.2 billion went to transfers, subsidies and social benefits, K1.1 billion to implementation of various Government programmes and general operations, while K1.5 billion was targeted at capital expenditure.

According the September 2023 Budget releases report issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury yesterday, K3.7 billion was released for the public service wage bill and K2.3 billion was channelled towards dismantling arrears as well as domestic and external debt service.

The highlights of the K3.2 billion for transfers and subsidies included K665.5 million for Constituency Development Fund (CDF) community projects, K209.2 million for Social Cash Transfer and K229.6 million for the operations of hospitals and grant aided institutions in Government ministries.

The other notable expenditure was K115.1 million for universities’ operations, student loans and scholarships, K35.6 million to the Public Service Pension Funds as an operation grant, K111.6 million to the Local Government Equalisation Fund and Food Security Pack accounted for K149.4 million.

“In addition, a total of K1.6 billion was released for the Farmer Input Support Programme and the Food Reserve Agency in the month under review,” the ministry said. The K1.5 billion capital expenditure was for road infrastructure, water and sanitation projects, as well as to ministries, provinces and agencies.

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