Former Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe this morning completed her handover process to her successor and newly appointed Minister of Finance Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu.
Mrs. Mwanakatwe, the Lusaka Central Constituency Lawmaker, wished Dr. Ng’andu well in his new job of sheparding the economy to sustained stability and growth.
And thanking Mrs. Mwanakatwe for her supportive spirit and guidance, Dr. Ng’andu also paid tribute to the former Minister for her resolute stance in developing austerity measures aimed at restoring the economy’s fiscal fitness, stability, and growth.
In the coming days, Dr. Ng’andu is scheduled to hold liaison meetings with cooperating partners, business associations, the Industrial Development Corporation Group, the Zambia Revenue Authority and other economic players and stakeholders.
This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance Spokesman Chileshe Kandeta.
Earlier today, Minister of Finance Bwalya N’gandu said that government wasputting in place stringent measures aimed at addressing all the economic challenges that have negatively impacted on the well-being of the general citizenry.
Dr N’gandu cited the broadening of the tax revenue by enhancing compliance, increasing capacity for domestic resource mobilisation and dismantling arrears owed to suppliers and contractors as some of the positive steps which will be taken to restore confidence in country’s economy.
Speaking in Lusaka today during the quarterly economic briefing, Dr. N’gandu explained that government’s economic target for 2019 remains resolute to reducing the budget deficit to 6.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), bringing down debt levels and maintaining the inflation rate between 6 and 8 percent.
He attributed the rise in inflation rate from 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019 to 8.6 in the second to price adjustments in transportation and food products.
And Dr. N’gandu added that the depreciation of the kwacha in the second quarter by 7.6 percent to the United States Dollar was triggered by the high demand of the foreign currency and the changes in the procurement of petroleum products.
Meanwhile, Dr N’gandu disclosed that government has concluded the consultation process with regards to the implementation of the new sales tax.
He explained that currently, relevant stakeholders are reviewing all the submissions before the implementation process can take effect.
He further assured that government wants to avoid any risks that can result into employment loses and possibilities of destabilising the manufacturing industry before making the final decision of implementing the sales tax.
The Minister further noted that government is implementing expenditure adjustments on infrastructural projects which will result in slowing down, cancelling or postponing certain projects amid austerity measures.
Meanwhile, World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa Albert Zeufack has urged government to expedite the process of implementing fiscal consolidation measures in order to revamp its economic performance and protect human capital.
Dr Zeufack said there is need for Zambia to diversify its economy from being a mining dependent country to another sector that can enhance its economic growth and reduce poverty levels among the people.
He further pledged World Bank’s support in assisting Zambia resolve some of its fiscal challenges and achieve sustainable economic development.
Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Mr Hidenobu Sobashima announced his country’s continued support to Zambia in its quest to address economic challenges, further thanking China for offering Zambia a debt relief.