THE 2013 national budget is sober, says former finance minister Ng'andu Magande.
Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda yesterday unveiled a K32.2 trillion national budget anchored on delivering inclusive development and social justice among Zambians.

Commenting on the budget speech, Magande said it was realistic and not driven by populist pronouncements.

Magande, who is also National Movement for Progress president said Chikwanda's emphasis on job creation was crucial, but added that getting jobs for youths required a lot of creativity.

Magande, the country's longest-serving finance minister, said the 2013 national budget was "just like those I was presenting."

"It was a sober budget, nothing sort of make you jump up and sit up in your chair," Magande said yesterday. "It would seem the normal thing that you always hear that now you will see this customs but you see creation of employment now in the modern world requires some sort of creativity. And I don't think that was tackled.

I would have expected the minister of finance being an acting president for the country, for the first time that the president has presented a budget since independence, I thought he would touched on very big issues."
Vice-President Guy Scott said the budget has shown that every measure was designed for job creation and for fulfilling the Patriotic Front's promises to the people.

He said the education and health sectors had received a "huge boost and shows we are out to eliminate such things like HIV, malaria".
Vice-President Scott assured that the K32.2 trillion budget would be "sensibly and prudently managed".

And World Bank country representative Kundhavi Kadiresan congratulated the PF government for the first budget that fully bears its imprint.
She said the budget provides insights into the government's policies aimed at achieving development goals articulated in the PF manifesto.

"The budget's focus on poverty reduction and jobs creation is welcome and is a clear indication of the PF government's commitment to these development goals," Kadiresan.

She also commended the government's strong and continued commitment to a stable macroeconomic environment through adherence to prudent policies.