Parly to resume business earlier

PARLIAMENT is set to resume business earlier than usual on January 15, with debate on the 2018 National Budget expected to take centre stage.

Both the National Assembly and Senate adjourned for the festive season on December 20 and traditionally MPs resume their duties at the end of January or mid-February after breaking for Christmas.

Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda told lawmakers on the last sitting that they would be back for business earlier.

“I also wish to inform the House that the date for the post-Budget Seminar has since been changed to Monday, 8th January, 2018 while the post-Budget consultations by Portfolio Committees will be held from Tuesday, 9th January to Friday 12th January, 2018,” he said.

The Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda said the National Assembly would resume sitting on January 15.

“We are going to start early because we have to tackle the issue of the Budget. We are going to resume business on January 15,” said Mr Chokuda.

When Parliament reconvenes, legislators will go through all allocations and other matters related to the National Budget to ensure that loose ends are tied up.

Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa earlier this month presented a $5,1 billion National Budget under the “New Economic Order” theme.

Minister Chinamasa said the fiscal policy statement had to reflect the new trajectory that deals with challenges facing the country.

The minister said the era of indiscipline in Government expenditure, which has been blamed for creating an unsustainable budget deficit, must stop.

In his presentation, he also announced a cocktail of cost cutting measures in the public sector, among them maintaining a recruitment freeze on non-critical fields, reducing foreign travel delegations, closing technically insolvent parastatals, implementing a voluntary retrenchment and trimming work benefits for senior officials such as fuel allocations as well as number of allocations.

The Finance Minister said Government would abolish 3 700 posts for youth officers while 528 civil servants above the age of 65 had been retired.

Most Cabinet ministers reportedly cancelled their 2017 festive season travels and have awakened their teams to the imperative of delivering key outcomes.

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