Jesuit Scholars Call for Inclusion of Marginalized in Zambia’s Budget Planning

JCTR members at a press conference on 11 May 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia. Credit: JCTR

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) is calling on Zambia’s government to promote fairness during the budget preparation process by welcoming ideas from the marginalized and vulnerable.

Zambia’s Finance and Planning Ministry started preparations for the 2024 National Budget in April. 

“JCTR takes the preparation of the 2024 National Budget and its subsequent implementation as an opportunity to encourage and urge the government to promote structural equality,” officials of the Lusaka-based Jesuit entity say in their statement dated Thursday, May 11.

They say that the structural equality can be achieved “by ensuring that measures already in place to guarantee that the process is inclusive, notably by accommodating perspectives from all sectors of the economy, particularly those who are marginalized and vulnerable, are followed to the letter.”

Officials of the Jesuit entity that is engaged in research, advocacy, education, and consultancy on social issues also say that the 2024 budget needs to include more initiatives that provide relief to the high cost of living relief.


They propose that the government revises the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) non tax bands, capitalizing on Value Addition Project Tax (VAT) and corporate tax.

The Jesuit scholars also call for “broad based consultations in the current ongoing budget preparation as well as Medium Term Expenditure Framework (2024 to 2026)”, adding that such consultations “will allow for the exploration of both income based and cost-based options to enhance economic growth and curtail the rise in the cost of living.”

They also urge Zambia's government "to provide a robust domestic resource mobilization strategy to prevent further debt contraction, support social sector spending and arrest the high living cost."

In their May 11 statement, JCTR officials also ask Zambia's international creditors to "promptly" offer debt relief to the Southern African nation. 

Zambia defaulted its  $27 billion debt to local and international creditors in 2020. 

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In the two-page statement, JCTR officials say debt relief "is critical in freeing up fiscal space to support the welfare of the most vulnerable amidst the high cost of living."

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.