Donors and investors in London have endorsed the Zambian government’s economic plan and the bold decisions the leadership is taking to translate growth into poverty reduction and ensure equitable wealth redistribution.
Lynne Featherstone, the British Minister responsible for International Development and Violence Against Women Overseas has told the Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda that the British government is confident of the bold leadership the Zambian government is providing in moving the economy forward.
“I congratulate you on the bold decision to end the fuel and maize subsidies. That was a brave decision. It was a bold and difficult decision but it had to be done for the greater good of the majority,” Minister Featherstone said.
She said this during a meeting she held with Mr. Chikwanda at her Constittuency Office in north London.
This is contained in a statement issued by Zambia High Commission to the United Kingdom Press Secretary Amos Chanda, in London today.
Ms Featherstone also welcomed Zambia’s decision to launch the e-voucher for social cash transfers in ten districts. “We welcome this decsion very much because it will help in the quicker delivery to the poor.”
She also announced that the British government is prepared to provide technical assistance to Cabinet Office’s public service pay reform exercise. “We take note of the public sector pay structure reform exercise and we are ready to provide the assistance if needed.”
The minister announced that DFID will release the KR65 million for budget support to Zambia immediately the IMF assessment team concludes its mission in Lusaka next month.
In response, Hon. Chikwanda paid gratitude to the British government for the great assistance the country has provided to Zambia and asssured his host that their confidence and trust in Zambia was not misplaced.
“I want to underscore our deep gratitude for the support your government has rendered and we do not want you to ever think that your confidence in us was misplaced,” Mr. Chikwanda said.
“Your support will spur us to work even more diligently to ensure that investors and donors never have cause to feel that they misplaced or misallocated their trust and confidence in us.”
He said following Zambia’ successful issue a US$750 million Eurobond in September 2012, the majority of the proceeds have been invested in growth areas particularly towards infrastructure development.
“Our efforts at fiscal discipline are greatly assisted by a President who is an ardent apostle for fiscal responsibility as is evidenced by his being in the driving seat in rolling back unsustainable subsidies. President (Michael) Sata’s stance on fiscal discipline is unambigous,” the minister said.
Earlier the minister met with representatives of Societe Generale, the world’s sixth largest bank at their central London office. Led by Parvez Iqbal, the bank’s managing director for global markets, the investors told Mr. Chikwanda that the “markets are reporting positive sentiment on Zambia.”
“That is reflected in your US$750 debut bond last year which we undestand was oversubscribed 24 times. Your growth rate is impressive and copper is doing well. We are interested to participate in the Zambian economy. We are coming to Lusaka next week,” Mr Iqbal said.
He said Societe Generale was not just a commercial bank but a large investment bank interested in long-term financing.
“This is why we are impressed by the Zambian government’s infrastruture development programme,” he said.
The minister was accompnied by Permanent Secretary Mr. Felix Nkulukusa, Zambia High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Mr Paul Lumbi and Press Secretary Amos Chanda whilst Mr Mr Iqbal was accompanied by Razvan Frumosu (director emerging markets) and David Mirzayoo (managing director-sales).