Zambian economy is still intact-Chikwanda

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda
Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda says the Zambian economy is still intact.

Mr. Chikwanda says there is no need to speculate over the economy because infrastructure development in Lusaka alone is evidence that the economy is still intact.

He says this is despite the current external shocks that have created some challenges to the economy.

Mr. Chikwanda says government has scaled down its growth prospects next year to five percent due to economic challenges that Zambia is going through.



And the Minister cautioned controlling officers not to spend beyond available resources.

He says government will not hesitate to take action against any controlling officer that spend beyond available resources.

Mr. Chikwanda was speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday interview programme.

He added that the Pay-As-You-Earn Threshold has remained unchanged in next year’s budget as tax payment will only be applicable to those who earn three thousand kwacha and above.

And Mr. Chikwanda says the 2016 National Budget was not easy to put together owing to conflicts between available resources and required expenditure.

Speaking during the Deloitte Budget Breakfast in Lusaka on Monday, Mr. Chikwanda said government has pegged its expenditure at 53 billion kwacha against available revenue of 42 billion kwacha.

He stated that government will borrow more externally than internally to finance the gap.

Mr. Chikwanda also said the private sector is key in creating jobs and wealth.

He is, however, concerned that Zambia has remained an expensive tourist destination which has affected growth of the sector.

He said government has focused on tourism as one of the sectors targeted for diversification of the economy.

And Delloite Chief Executive Officer Chisanga Chungu has observed that factors leading to the current economic challenges including a slump in copper prices and power outages are likely to continue in the short term.

Mr Chungu has however, observed that the factors can be tackled with collective efforts from all stakeholders.

And an economist from South African Kay Walsh has observed that copper prices have between 2014 and 2016 registered a 25percent decrease.

Ms Walsh said this coupled with low water levels in the Kariba dam which has affected hydro electricity generation have led to government revising its Gross Domestic Product -GDP- focus for 2015 from 7 percent to 5 percent.