FINANCE MINISTER FELIX MUTATI has said the Zambian government is in the process of creating financing instruments which will facilitate enhanced participation of the private sector in infrastructure development.
This is contained in a press statement released to the media by Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta.
Addressing delegates and investors at the on-going Africa Infrastructure Financing Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa, today, MR. MUTATI said one of Zambia’s top priorities was to mobilise public-private-sector investment for mega projects such as the planned Batoka Power Station between Zambia and Zimbabwe which is expected to produce 2,400 MW of hydro power and enhance developmental integration in the region.
“Unless we have power to drive industrialisation, regional integration and competitiveness will be eroded,” he said, adding that, “in Zambia we are refining public-private-partnership models to facilitate infrastructure development from design to operation and transfer, through financing instruments such as credit enhancement and contingent guarantees.”
“We cannot address the infrastructure deficit in Africa if we continue with business as usual,” warned MR. MUTATI, adding that “we also need to begin to create a sence of urgency to curb excessive bureaucracy and establish functional platforms for efficient and effective actualization of private investment.”
To address the infrastructure deficit in key sectors of our economies, “we need ruthless prioritization of development projects, efficient resource preparation, and effective sequencing of our programme implementation processes,” said MINISTER MUTATI.
“I remain hopeful that despite the infrastructure challenges, working together with neighbouring governments will enhance Zambia’s competitiveness,” said the Minister, adding that, “this year alone , investments from South Africa have reached close to ONE-BILLION-DOLLARS [US$ 1 billion].
Speaking earlier at the same event, SOUTH AFRICA’S MINISTER OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT ROB DAVIES said that the African Continent has an annual infrastructure financing deficit of US$93 Billion per annum for the next twenty years.”
Mr. Davies said that, “Africa’s competitiveness remains weak because of this huge infrastructure deficit.”
He also said that “South Africa is making progress in unlocking the infrastructure deficit by harnessing partnerships and using locally manufactured components and inputs, in line with Africa’s 2063 Agenda and Vision for social-economic development.”
“We have developed guidelines and a code of conduct for South African companies which have invested and are operating businesses in other African countries to ensure that the highest standards of corporate governance are observed,” disclosed MINISTER DAVIES.
“South Africa aims to enhance investment led trade partnership with Zambia especially in the energy sector,” he said, also adding that, “we are looking at ways in which we could partner with Zambia to address developmental challenges of our two countries through infrastructure development.”
MEANWHILE, South Africa and Zambia have expressed mutual interest to collaborate in tax administration, treasury management, revenue collection, trade and revenue leakage prevention, staff exchange programmes, and investment in the north-south corridor from Kasumbalesa-Chililabombwe to South Africa.
This development came to light when MINISTER MUTATI paid a courtesy call on his South African counterpart MALUSI GIGABA in Pretoria today.
Speaking during the event, Mr. Gigaba proposed an intensive collaboration programme in the near future, which will involve study tours by Zambian authorities to the South African Revenue Service, Industrial Development Corporation, Public Investments Corporation, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Land Bank and other development oriented organisations.
“Tax administration and revenue collection are our key areas of focus, therefore staff exchanges will be a great initiative for both our countries,” said Mr. Gigaba.
“We need to move quickly on this initiative so that a memorandum of understanding is signed by October 2017,” urged Mr. Gigaba.
AND Mr. Mutati has said South Africa is Africa’s biggest investor,” further stating that, “its investments in Zambia are progressively creating opportunities for tax revenue collection for the treasury through the Zambia Revenue Authority.”
Mr. Mutati also said Zambia and South Africa are giants in the regional economy therefore “we have to collaborate in translating the visions of our leaders into programmes that will benefit our people and enhance private sector investment returns.”
AND Zambia’s Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary for Budget and Economic Affairs Pamela Kabamba has said the country’s budget deficit is compounded by a low revenue to GDP ratio, which currently stands at 17% compared to South Africa’s 27%.
“As Zambia, we are taking measures to boost our revenue collection,” said Mrs. Kabamba, adding that, “the option of borrowing has attendant costs hence the need to up our game in domestic resource mobilisation.”