FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has challenged the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) to maintain price stability and exchange rates if economic growth is to be stimulated.
Mr Chikwanda said economic growth relied on the BoZ’s ability to maintain a stable exchange rate and stimulate growth as well as manage the inflation rate.
He said the other challenge the bank needed to tackle was to contain inflation and currency volatility and at the same time induce growth in the economy.
“Economic growth on the other hand is an inescapable imperative to provide means for social equity and eliminating huge income disparities which, apart from moral consideration, are a hindrance and disincentive to growth and development,” Mr Chikwanda said.
The minister was speaking yesterday at Pamodzi Hotel at the BoZ’s 50th Golden Jubilee and launch of a book on economic policy in Zambia titled Zambia building Prosperity from Resource Wealth.
He said the Golden Jubilee should be an occasion for reflection and introspection which should propel the nation in charting the way forward.
Mr Chikwanda said BoZ’s policy to pursue financial inclusiveness was aimed at widening bank coverage because currently the bank’s population was below 40 per cent.
BoZ Governor Michael Gondwe said the bank had come a long way and that many changes had taken place in the legal framework, functions and operations.
Dr Gondwe said that changes made since 1964 reflected developments in the global economy as well as the domestic economic and political transformation.
He said this was the time when BoZ should take stock of changing events in order to assess future challenges and share views and experiences on how to ensure it played its part in promoting growth and supporting the Government’s efforts to ensure citizens had a stake in the nation’s prosperity.
BoZ’s first governor, Justine Zulu advised governments to adhere to governors’ advice on how to improve the country’s economy due to their vast experience.
“I left after serving for three years because the Government did not want to listen to my advice, and my fear is that if this system of ignoring special advice on national issues continues, it will plunge the nation into a serious financial crisis,” Dr Zulu said.