Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu says his job honeymoon is short as the terms of reference given to him by President Edgar Lungu to stabilize and grow the economy offer limited room for delay.
“Hard work is beckoning, the need for action is immediate, my honeymoon is short and my Ministry will require your unfettered support to push policy implementation and get work done,” Dr. Ng’andu told the Cooperating Partners Group (CPG), during a courtesy meeting held at the Ministry of Finance, this morning.
The Minister took the opportunity to assure the cooperating partners delegation that the Zambian Government values the relationships that it has with all stakeholders and “is therefore keen to strengthen existing ties through various development platforms.”
Dr. Ng’andu pledged to meet all the partners individually in order to reach common ground on areas that need attention “in order to stimulate faster implementation of development programmes.”
Meanwhile, the Cooperating Partners have today restated their commitment to support the implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan.
The CPG delegation has reaffirmed their support towards building a strong partnership with the Zambian Government.
Speaking as Chair of the Cooperating Partners Group German Head of Development Cooperation Christoph Fritz said the expressed assurance of the Zambian Government to implement austerity measures is a very important message to the international community as it demonstrates the resolve of the authorities in taking corrective measures in the country’s progression towards fiscal health.
The CPG also encouraged the Minister of Finance to continue with the country’s efforts towards acquisition of an IMF Supported Economic Programme in order to expand the financing options available to Zambia by way of support from other cooperating partners.
Among the other issues discussed in the courtesy meeting were debt management, financial governance, private sector development, value for money public investments, protection of social spending, and drought responsiveness. Further, the cooperating partners listed the e-voucher programme and the economic stabilisation and growth reforms among the issues that need the closer attention of the Zambian Government.
Contributing to the proceedings, African Development Bank Country Manager Mary Monyau announced the banks approval of a support package that will help Zambia with capacity improvement in domestic resource mobilisation and debt management while her World Bank counterpart Ina Marie Ruthenberg took the opportunity to bid farewell, stating that, 31st July, 2019, was her last day of duty.
During the meeting, the two parties agreed on the need for the Zambian Government to develop an action matrix that will help stakeholders to track progress in the implementation of socio-economic policies and reforms in key areas such as agriculture, energy and food security.
This is according to a statement issued by Ministry of Finance Spokesman Chileshe Kandeta.