Staying the Course of Fiscal Fitness: Analysis of the 2018 National Budget

The 2018 National Budget was delivered to the National Assembly and read on 29th September 2017, with the theme: “accelerating fiscal fitness for sustained inclusive growth, without leaving anyone behind”. In part, this essentially signals that the country has now come off what ZIPAR termed as a tight rope in the 2017 Budget Analysis, and now needs to hasten its efforts to lock in fiscal fitness. It is therefore imperative to contemplate what the key ingredients for staying the course of fiscal fitness will be as Zambia implements the 2018 Budget. This Budget Analysis offers insights and recommendations in this regard. Section 2 sets the broad context of the 2018 Budget, linking it with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP); Section 3 focuses on the revenue and expenditure estimates for 2018, unravelling the feasibility and challenges of accelerating fiscal fitness; Section 4 focuses on fiscal deficits and arrears; Section 5 recounts selected aspects of the age-old diversification story; Section 6 assesses key infrastructure spending commitments; and Section 7 closes the report, with a retrospective view of budget integrity and credibility, particularly in relation to keeping to commitments.