Ministry public relations officer Chileshe Kandeta appealed to Zambians especially former ministers to stop issuing irresponsible statements on the fiscal situation of the country.
Recently, there has been a spate of dramatic statements about the fiscal position of government, worryingly and significantly, from some former Ministers.
The Treasury is concerned that these statements, which are predicated on serious distortions of facts, have the capacity to mislead the public and create unnecessary despondence.
In the Budget for fiscal year 2013, the size of the deficit and how it would be financed was indicated, debated by Members of Parliament and endorsed. In all years, because of the demands of development there have been deficits and there will be even bigger deficits as the development agenda unfolds.
What is important is that we continue to reduce the imbalance between outlays on recurrent or consumption component of the budget and growth promoting projects. Only in this way can we accelerate development, create more jobs and increase the nation’s stock of wealth. We are on course and moving in the right direction on this matter.
All countries including the most developed economies have deficits. In most cases these deficits are very sizeable proportions of the Gross Domestic Product. Zambia’s deficit is currently of the order of 5% of Gross Domestic Product and our thrust is to keep the deficits at that level or at least not significantly much above that level to avoid running into debt service difficulties.
The public should know that the state of the world economy has decelerated and the immediate prospects for higher growth rates are not very promising. All countries including Zambia are subject to externally induced shocks. One way to circumvent these shocks is to quicken development in sectors with huge potential for growth and short gestation. Agriculture and the energy sectors stand out and hence the enhanced investments in these sectors.
The question of dealing with short-term shortfalls is essentially a management issue. There is ample and adequate competence and skills in the Treasury to manage short-term crises and the country should be rest assured we have no insurmountable problems. The international financial community has all the confidence in Zambia because of our policy consistency and predictability.
The Treasury wishes to appeal to citizens especially those who have held responsibilities in government to desist from dubious accolades and irresponsible limelight which have effect of engendering alarm and erosion of confidence in our peaceful country. We all have individual and collective responsibility and duty to maintain a favorable image of our country.