Zambia’s Proposed Budget “excellent opportunity for growth, development”: Jesuit Scholars

JCTR members at a press conference in Lusaka, Zambia. Credit: JCTR

Zambia’s proposed 2023 national budget is an “excellent opportunity” for the development and growth of the Southern African nation, officials of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have said.

In their Tuesday, October 5 statement, JCTR officials say the budget that was presented to Parliament on September 30 under the theme, “Stimulating Economic Growth, for Improved Livelihoods”, will result in improved welfare and livelihood for the people of God in Zambia if well implemented. 

The 2023 budget provides an excellent opportunity for growth and development through a people-centered strategy,” officials of the Zambia-based research institution say in the statement shared with ACI Africa. 

The proposed 2023 budget “has demonstrated the government's willingness and zeal to improve the well-being of the poor and marginalized through key policy pronouncements,” officials of the Lusaka-based Jesuit institution say.

They highlight the proposed increase of Constituency Development Fund (CDF), hiring of extension officers, teachers and health workers, payment of terminal benefits to retirees, and the reintroduction of student meal allowances as some of the “notable measures aimed at improving citizens' well-being”. 


Other significant measures, they say, are the scaling up of the Social Cash Transfer program, the purchase of agricultural equipment, the introduction of infield irrigation and a comprehensive agriculture support program, as well as the development of farming blocks.

In their October 5 statement titled, “Effective Implementation of the 2023 National Budget Critical”, JCTR officials say the social protection program remain one of the most important tools to address poverty in the Southern African nation. 

For this reason, the Jesuit scholars say, “It is important for the government to ensure consistent and timely disbursement of the proposed funds if they are to serve the intended purpose.” 

“More importantly, qualifying citizens must have equal access to these funds. In that vein, it is important for the government to enhance domestic resource mobilization to ensure that more revenue is collected for social protection spending,” JCTR officials say.

They add, “Efforts to curb illicit financial flows, tax evasion and corrupt public procurement processes must be pursued.”

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“If implemented well through a high degree of credibility and certainty in release of funds, the 2023 national budget aligned with aspirations that aim to deal with the challenge of unemployment and low incomes levels, can deliver for the Zambian people especially the vulnerable,” the Jesuit scholars further say.

In their October 5 statement, officials of the research, education and advocacy Jesuit institution fault the proposed budget, saying that the Zambian government ought to allocate more funds “to ensure the inclusion of people living with disabilities, especially in education, social protection and health.”

The proposed budget, they say, fails to adhere to various international declarations to which the Southern African country is a signatory. 

The Jesuit scholars say that while the Zambian government allocates 6.7% and 10.4% to agriculture and health, respectively, the Maputo and Abuja declarations say member states need to allot 10% of the national budget to agriculture and 15% to health.

Considering that the education sector budget stands at 13.9%, JCTR officials also fault the proposed budget for failing to adhere to the Incheon Declaration, which prescribes an allocation of 20% to the education sector. 


They say it is important for the government to meet international protocols “as they provide a benchmark upon which the nation can compare and assess performance in order to achieve continuous improvement.”

In their October 5 statement, the Jesuit scholars note “with disappointment” that expenditure on water and sanitation has decreased. 

They say, “This proposed decrease in allocation to water and sanitation has the potential to negatively impact on the water and sanitation projects, and therefore will have a negative impact on the communities especially the poor and vulnerable.”

The Jesuit scholars add that access to clean and safe water “is an important aspect of economic, social and cultural rights that must be prioritized in the delivery of social services.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.