Economic reforms yielding positive results – Mutati

Finance Minister Felix Mutati

Finance Minister Felix Mutati says the economic and fiscal consolidation reforms embarked on in 2017 have gained momentum and are beginning to yield positive results.

A liaison meeting with Zambia’s Cooperating Partners was held yesterday by the Ministry of Finance and their counterparts led by Minister of Development Planning Ministry of Development Planning Alexander Chiteme.

And Mr. Mutati explained that Zambia’s fiscal deficit in December 2017 was only 6.1% against a budget target of 7.3% a positive performance which is consistent with government’s fiscal consolidation policies.

He also disclosed that total tax revenue collections in 2017 were above target by 4%.

Zambia recorded a 6.1% inflation rate as at December 2017, the lowest record so far in 40 years. With domestic debt reducing from K19 billion in December, 2016 to less than K10 billion in December, 2017.

Mr. Mutati reiterated that Government’s commitment to enhance domestic resource mobilisation and below are the five key areas of reform:

1. Improvement of Economic and Fiscal Governance;

2. Tax policy reforms and tax administration modernisation;

3. Enhanced debt management and improvement in supply of debt data;

4. Revision of Bank of Zambia legislation to provide for enhancement of monetary policy management and administration;

5. Revision of procurement legislation and implementation of new procurement reforms.”

“We will leverage on the vision and full backing of President Edgar Lungu to continue implementing a reform agenda which has positive exponential outcomes and benefits the people of Zambia – without leaving anyone behind,” Mr. Mutati said.

The Minister of National Development Planning Alexander Chiteme revealed that currently a total of 2,450 active and stalled projects located in various locations in all the ten provinces of Zambia.

Mr Chiteme expressed Governments’ displeasure over the unimpressive implementation of some donor funded projects whose poor performance he attributed to delays in project appraisals, prolonged negotiations, protracted approval processes, lengthy procurement processes and bureaucratic staff recruitment and placement systems.

He also reaffirmed Government’s commitment to revive, prioritise, and complete ongoing projects located in various locations in all the ten provinces of Zambia before embarking on new ones.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the Cooperating Partners Group and United Nations Systems Coordinator Janet Rogan, who was represented by United Nations Development Programme UNDP Economic Counsellor Ms. Nicolene Nzamba, said the group was looking forward to the continuation of fruitful engagements, cooperation and collaboration with the Zambian Government.

“As Zambia’s Cooperating Partners, we wish to see the full implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan and establishment of a stronger linkage between the budget and the plan,” Ms. Nzamba said.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the two Ministers called on the Cooperating Partners to continue their collaboration with the Zambian Government in order to mutually achieve development interests.

This is according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance. – PF