Central bank says 2014 GDP achievable

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Bank of Zambia (BOZ) Governor Michael Gondwe has stated that selected economic indicators tracked by the Central Bank continue to suggest that the real Growth Domestic Product (GDP) target of 6.5 percent for 2014 is likely to be achieved.


Dr Gondwe said this in his monetary policy statement obtained by ZANIS in Lusaka today.


The Central Bank Governor noted that in the agriculture sector, the stock of maize grain held by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) rose by 276.7 percent to 1, 294, 213 metric tonnes at end of September from 343, 581.3 metric tonnes at end of June 2014.


He said rice stocks also rose by 37.6 percent to 2, 097 metric tonnes while stocks for maize were higher than the 500, 000 metric tonnes allocated in the 2014 budget.


Dr Gondwe stated that in the construction sector, the production of cement increased by 29.2 percent to 401, 104 metric tonnes from 310, 383.3 metric tonnes during the second quarter.


“With respect to the energy sector, electricity generation increased by 1.3 percent in the third quarter to 3, 554, 249 megawatt hours and on a year to date basis, electricity generation at 10, 027, 044 megawatt hours, was also 4.4 percent higher during the same period in 2013,” he said.


Dr. Gondwe further stated that in the tourism sector, the international passenger arrivals at the four international airports in the country increased by 10.3 percent in the third quarter to 175, 265.


He said the manufacturing sector also saw the production of clear beer and soft drinks rise by 20.8 percent and 2.6 percent respectively in the third quarter whilst the production of mineral water declined by 7.5 percent.


The Central Bank Governor further stated that preliminary data indicate that mining sector output might be lower than originally forecast at the beginning of the year, although the prospects for increased output over the medium term remain strong as new projects come on stream.


And on the Bank’s policy rate, Dr Gondwe said the Bank’s forecast is that inflation will remain within elevated levels of 7.9 percent throughout the rest of the year and into 2015.


He reiterated the Central Bank’s commitment to safeguard macroeconomic stability by focusing on the maintenance of price and financial sector remains well capitalised, profitable and stable, and that the fundamentals of the Zambian economy remain strong.


Dr. Gondwe said the Bank of Zambia remain confident that the growth target of 6.5 percent will be met, with the possibility of an even higher growth rate being achieved in 2014.