THE Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has thanked Zambians for being peaceful and resolved in pursuing national development during the political elections.
CSPR Advocacy and Communication Program Coordinator Maxson Nkhoma said in his end of year press release yesterday that Zambians must be commended for their exemplary peaceful conduct during the two years in which the country held two peaceful Presidential and general elections in which the Patriotic Front(PF) emerged victorious.
“The two years were politically charged and divisive as Zambians supported different political parties in line with democratic principles which allows any Zambian to support a political party of their choice without being forced to so,” he said.
Mr Nkhoma said despite the year 2015 and 2016 being politically charged and divisive, Zambians have remained united in their diversity and eager for national development.
He said that now that the elections were over, in 2017 the onus was on the Government to make decisions that were aimed at national building and reconciliation in order to create a socially, economically and politically conducive environment for the delivery of development across the country.
Mr Nkhoma said the national peace and unity was a pre-requisite for national development, wealth creation and cornerstone in maintaining the One Zambia One Nation Motto.
On the economic front,he said Zambia’s economy shifted into a lower gear in 2016 with sluggish reform implementation and tight credit conditions added to the woes caused by the commodity price slump.
He said it was against a background of dwindling copper-related revenues, the Government failed to limit public spending in order to rein in the widening fiscal deficit.
“However, the 2017 National Budget presented by Finance Minister Felix Mutati foresees a fiscal deficit of 7.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) a substantial improvement from the shortfall projected for 2016,”he said.
Mr Nkhoma said in a bid to avoid reducing Government expenditure, Mr Mutati announced the refinancing of US$ 2.8 billion in Eurobonds next year.
He said CSPR hopes that Government would maintain a high fiscal discipline by spending public funds on planned projects.
He said as the Government starts the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan(7NDP) CSPR was hoping that Government would prioritize poverty reduction programmes and expedite prosperity which was better shared to achieve acceptable human development standards to end hunger and poverty. He said CSPR was also expecting that Government would reduce on external borrowing during the implementation of the 7NDP so as to avoid burdening Zambians with huge debt.