Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sata dismisses budget collapse rumours
By Moses Kuwema
Mon 24 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has dismissed assertions that the Patriotic Front government's national budget has collapsed.

In a statement by his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah, President Sata yesterday described such claims as premature, unwarranted and mischievous.

"Our foreign reserves currently stand at about US$2.4 billion while the country has recorded over US$2 billion in investment pledges in various sectors of the economy in the first quarter of 2013," President Sata stated.

"Similarly, non-traditional exports grew to US$530.7 million in the quarter of 2013, compared with US$500.9 million recorded during the same period in 2012. It is therefore, irresponsible to engage in extreme talk amidst such a robust national economic performance."

President Sata stated that in line with the PF manifesto's commitment of promoting inclusive growth and social justice for all, the government was running an activity based budget and had continued financing projects and programmes judiciously.

"The focus of the 2013 budget is to facilitate accelerated and sustained economic growth that translates into tangible realities for our people such as generation of sufficient and stable jobs, a redistribution of income and opportunities in favour of the poor, access to basic services and a general improvement in the standards of living," President Sata stated.

"Consequently, we have made substantial allocations towards the health, education, water and sanitation and local government sectors. Other interventions have been targeted towards facilitating sustained growth in the agriculture, tourism, infrastructure development and manufacturing sectors. In order to guarantee the execution of pragrammes and activities, the President has directed the Treasury to ensure that programme implementation reports are submitted by Ministries, Provinces and other Spending Agencies (MPSAs) prior to receiving subsequent funding."

President Sata stated the PF government was working tirelessly and with greater urgency to ensure that all priority sectors of the economy flourish within the projected benchmarks.

Meanwhile, President Sata has dismissed reports that he intends to substitute finance minister Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda with a named former finance minister, describing the reports as cheap careless gossip.

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