FINANCE Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu’s budget has been welcomed by many who say the budget will safeguard the interests of the poor, who have been hit hard by the recent economic slow down caused by COVID-19.
Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu tabled the budget at the National Assembly on Friday afternoon where he proposed to spend K119.6 billion in 2021 which translates to 32.6 percent of GDP. Of this amount, K68.0 billion, representing 18.5 percent of GDP, will come from domestic revenues and grants. The balance of K51.6 billion will be raised through financing.
“Mr. Speaker, the 2021 Budget clearly lays a foundation for economic recovery, build resilience, safeguard livelihoods and protect the vulnerable. The thrust and priority for 2021 and the medium term will, therefore, be to re-invigorate growth, restore macroeconomic stability, attain fiscal fitness, restore debt sustainability and dismantle domestic arrears and at the same time safeguard social protection spending” he said.
Ministry of Finance launches media campaign to enhance financial inclusion during and post the COVID-19 Pandemic
THE Ministry of Finance has today launched an innovative multi-media campaign that is aimed at further enhancing financial inclusion in Zambia. The campaign, dubbed ‘Better Finances for a Better Today and Tomorrow’ follows Government’s efforts to deepen financial inclusion in the country without leaving anyone behind. This is part of the implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) which was launched in 2017.
For the campaign, the Ministry of Finance is working in partnership with cooperating partner Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSD Zambia) as well as other financial sector players comprising the Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA), Bank of Zambia (BOZ), Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The campaign follows the development of the Communication Strategy for the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (CSNFIS) which was designed to foster increased awareness of financial services, usage and benefits targeting vulnerable groups across the country.
Today, the context has changed drastically with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers and would-be consumers of financial products and services are even more vulnerable to the effects of a lack of affordable and quality financial services. Many have found their economic situations severely affected and are in need now, more than ever, of reliable and simple financial information as they look to survive in the current and post-pandemic period.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu said:
“Government recognised the need for a comprehensive National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) to accelerate progress toward an inclusive, stable, and competitive financial sector development in Zambia. The NFIS provides a roadmap to further accelerate our financial inclusion journey in Zambia.
Enhanced financial inclusion in various countries has been proven to contribute to wealth creation, economic growth, and sustainable development.
In light of this, Government is focused in putting up measures towards achieving an overall increase in financial inclusion (formal and informal) from 59 to 80 percent and an increase in formal financial inclusion from 38 to 70 percent by 2022 as set out in NFIS. The media campaign is one of the measures put in place by the Government to enhance financial inclusion during and post COVID-19 Pandemic”.
Meanwhile, FSD Zambia CEO Betty Wilkinson said:
“FSD Zambia is most pleased to be supporting the Government in its efforts to increase financial inclusion. The NFIS enables access to sustainable and client-centric financial services for all families, particularly for women, smallholder farmers, youth, microenterprises, and other vulnerable persons. The broad range of communications about available services will enable households to enjoy an inclusive economy, access to basic services, and a sustainable future”.
The media campaign is expected to run for an initial period of 3 months, during which intense multi-media activities have been planned. The communications mix will include but not be limited to radio (community radio stations) social media, newspaper and mix-use video content. The campaign will employ innovative approaches to reach vulnerable groups that are hardest hit by the effects of financial exclusion.
FSD Zambia Communications Manager, Eneyah Phiri said:
“This campaign comes at a defining movement in world history. In Zambia, many families and their businesses have been heavily harmed by the pandemic. At FSD Zambia, we are working to understand the challenges and help microenterprises and smaller businesses remain resilient during these difficult times. Our team is piloting interventions that address constraints to business such as access to working capital. We believe that an awareness campaign like this one will augment our efforts and those of the Government and others in the financial market on the road to economic recovery post pandemic.”
In its Vision 2030, Zambia has set out an ambitious goal to become a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030. Further, Vision 2030 aims to create a new Zambia defined as a “strong and dynamic middle-income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all, embodying values of socio-economic justice. It comprises three priority sectors:
- Economic growth and wealth creation
- Social investment and human development
- Creating an enabling environment for sustainable social economic development.
The achievement of these priorities is primarily dependent on the equitable distribution of income and ultimately, wealth creation in all corners of the economy, including those that are underserved, the vulnerable groups. The media campaign has been launched towards the achievement of this goal.
MultiChoice Group continues its support of global UN Pause campaign
AS the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic continues, MultiChoice Group (MCG) has reaffirmed its commitment to the United Nations’ (UN’s) efforts to conquer the virus that has wreaked havoc around the globe and will continue to support the global organisation’s Pause campaign in celebration of UN Day on 24 October 2020.
Through its broadcast and digital platforms, MCG has been the official African media supporter of the Pause Campaign since its launch in June 2020. The campaign, which aims to reach one billion people by the end of December 2020, intends to prevent the spread of damaging misinformation about the pandemic and encourages people to only share trusted and accurate science-based social media content.
“As a pan-African organisation, we are proud to be able to reach a mass audience and use our reach into 19.5 million African households to raise awareness on key issues relevant to the continent,” says Calvo Mawela, Chief Executive Officer: MultiChoice Group. “Supporting initiatives such as the Pause campaign as well as airing relevant and compelling educational and news content on our platforms aligns to our commitment to making an impact in the communities in which we operate.”
MCG continues its support in phase two, which is set to roll-out from 21 October. As part of the second phase, students from the MultiChoice Talent Factory, the group’s development initiative that identifies and upskills Africa’s young storytellers, will create a 60-second advert encouraging viewers to #PledgetoPause before they share online or digital content.
On October 21, throughout the day, online influencers and global voices will make their own #PledgetoPause and call on their supporters to do the same.
“With Covid-19, the wrong information can kill. It is increasingly clear that we cannot successfully tackle the pandemic without also addressing online misinformation,” said Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications. “With the Pause campaign, we are trying to recreate a new social norm about how we share information. Each one of us can help break the chain of misinformation by pausing before we share. Pledge to Pause today.”
The consequences of the global pandemic have been vast and deep, and Covid-19 has again reminded us of the need for urgent and determined action to achieve the world’s Sustainable Development Goals. The UN has collaborated with Project Everyone – a not-for-profit agency – to develop a documentary which puts the power of communications behind these global developmental goals, to accelerate progress towards a world where, within the next decade, extreme poverty has been eradicated, climate change is properly addressed, and injustice and inequality are unacceptable. As part of phase two, MCG will broadcast this thought-provoking internationally acclaimed documentary on its platforms.
“Through the transformative power of the media, and using our extensive platforms, we can envision the world we want to see in ten years’ time and enable the key conversations that will drive behaviour change to achieve those goals,” concludes Mawela.
World Bank gives $25 Million to Zambia with to help address COVID-19
THE World Bank has approved $25 million to support Zambia’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Of this amount, $20 million will come from the International Development Association’s Crisis Response Window, while $5 million is grant funding from the Global Financing Facility. The funds will be channeled through the Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.
The Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project will provide support to the Zambian government to prevent, control, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. The emergency funding will support disease surveillance and strengthen screening at points of entry, risk communication and community engagement, as well as strengthen governance and accountability in implementation of the national COVID-19 response plan. It will also support COVID-19 case management, infection prevention and control, and interventions to maintain essential health services.
“While Zambia has seen a reduction in new cases of COVID-19 in the last two months, it is important that prevention, detection and response measures are scaled up to prevent further spread of the disease,” said Sahr Kpundeh, World Bank Country Manager for Zambia.
“Rapid response is crucial in addressing COVID-19 and to reduce its negative impact on health systems, social services and economic activities.”
The project will be implemented nationwide and is expected to benefit the entire population of Zambia, asCOVID-19 poses a risk to everyone. The primary beneficiaries will be suspected and confirmed COVID19 cases, and populations at risk such as the elderly, people with co-morbidities, medical and emergency personnel, port of entry officials and truck drivers.
“Considering that many of the COVID-19 cases in Zambia have come from outside the country, the project will help strengthen screening at Zambia’s entry points”, said Rosemary Sunkutu, Senior Health Nutrition and Population Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project. “This component of the project is especially important given that Zambia is a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries, which predisposes the country to risks of importation of diseases from neighboring countries and beyond.”
This funding is part of a broader package of support by the World Bank Group to help Zambia manage and responds to the COVID-19 crisis. The World Bank mobilized $2.72 million from existing health operations and financing mechanisms to support the Government’s COVID-19 response. World Bank Group COVID-19 Response.