Finance Minister Dr BWALYA NG’ANDU says observations raised by the public on the 2020 Budget have helped to structure and sharpen Zambia’s resolve to address public concerns ahead of the planned engagements with bilateral and multilateral cooperating partners at the ongoing 2019 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington DC, United States of America.
The Minister has stated that Zambia’s wish to strengthen cooperation with local and international development partners is a key factor in ensuring the achievement of sustained economic stability and growth.
He was speaking during a brainstorming session with the Zambian delegation to the 2019 Annual Meetings of the IMF and WBG.
Dr Ng’andu is leading a delegation that includes Minister of National Development Planning ALEXANDER CHITEME, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Finance and Economic Development) CHRISTOPHER MVUNGA, and Secretary to the Treasury FREDSON YAMBA.
Others representing the country at the IMF/WBG Annual Meetings are Bank of Zambia Governor Dr DENNY KALYALYA, Ministry of National Development Planning Permanent Secretary (Monitoring and Evaluation) DANIES CHISENDA, Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary (Economic Management & Finance) MUKULI CHIKUBA, and Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr SIMBYAKULA, SC, respectively.
The Minister of Finance emphasised that highlights of the vision and aspirations of the Government stated in the President’s State of the Nation Address and the 2020 Budget, should anchor policy discussion points during the delegations engagements at the annual meetings.
Dr Ng’andu also took the opportunity to reiterate that for the avoidance of doubt, the stabilisation measures listed in the 2020 Budget such as restoring debt to sustainable levels; dismantling of domestic arrears; enhancing domestic resource mobilisation; effectively managing public expenditure; increasing the efficiency of government; and reducing resource wastage in the public sector, should clearly be explained to stakeholders in the international financial market and in Zambia.
“The measures are expected to activate the necessary socio-economic adjustments and put the country on a sustained growth trajectory.
“This is the assurance our people and the international market need from us,” said Dr. Ng’andu, adding that, “our plans for the near term as stated in the 2020 Budget are realistic and so should not raise false expectations or unwarranted doubt.”
He stated further that Zambia must not be shy to learn from others and benchmark her performances against best practice.
The Minister said this has to be done within the context of the country’s policy framework for next year and the medium term.
The delegation acknowledged in unison that one of Zambia’s main objective at the 2019 Annual Meetings is to strengthen cooperation with development partners and investors.
Citizens should begin to see consistent policy implementation and positive outcomes from the outlined measures in the 2020 Budget, the delegation agreed.
Next year’s budget targets fiscal health and consolidation, economic stabilisation, and growth of local enterprises.
“I am confident that working together as a people, but of course with support from our development partners, we can achieve the targets we have set for ourselves,” Dr. Ng’andu reiterated.
In 2020, the following will be Zambia’s macroeconomic targets:
1. Achieving a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of at least 3%;
2. Achieving and maintaining inflation within the target range of 6 to 8 percent;
3. Increasing International reserves to at least 2.5 months of import cover;
4. Reducing the fiscal deficit to at least 5.5% of GDP; and,
5. Increasing domestic revenue mobilisation to at least 22 percent of GDP.
“This is why we need to optimise the networking dividend that these Annual Meetings provide ,” Dr. Ng’andu told his delegation.
The Minister of Finance arrived in Washington DC, United States of America, last night and was met on arrival at Washington’s Dulles International Airport by Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. NGOSA SIMBYAKULA, SC and other Embassy officials.
Dr Ng’andu assured the receiving party that the Zambian Government stands on firm ground in its resolve to focus national priorities towards stimulating, stabilising and growing the domestic economy.
He called on Zambia’s diplomatic staff, not only in Washington DC, but in all other missions abroad, to consistently sell the country’s good stories so that tourists and investors could sustain their positive interest in Zambia.
The Zambian delegation is today scheduled to attend the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) Plenary. The IMFC is the highest organ of the IMF and consists the Board of Governors (Minister’s of Finance and Central Bank Governors of Member States) and the IMF Executive Board.
Dr Ng’andu is Zambia’s Governor in the IMF Board of Governors and his alternate is Dr Kalyalya.
Apart from attending the IMFC Plenary, Dr Ng’andu and his delegation will attend the IMF African Caucus Meeting with the new IMF Managing Director KRISTALINA GEORGEVA; attend the IMF Africa Group 1 Constituency Meeting; and, hold bilateral talks with the IMF (African Department).
They are also scheduled to attend the WBG Development Committee (WBG-DC) Meeting; the highest organ of the WBG which consists the Board of Governors (Minister’s of Finance, Planning, Economy, Development, Heads of Treasury, and Central Bank Governors of Member States) and the WBG Executive Board.
The Zambian delegation will also hold high level talks with the WBG Vice President (Africa Region) HAFEZ GHANEM and his team.
Dr Ng’andu is Zambia’s Governor in the WBG Board of Governors and his alternate is Mr Chiteme.
Yesterday, the delegation, led by Minister Chiteme, attended the WBG Africa Group 1 Constituency Meeting and held bilateral talks with the World Bank Executive Director for the Africa Group 1 Constituency.
On the sidelines of the IMF/WBG Annual Meetings, the delegation will also address Investors Forums, heads of financial institutions, and hold bilateral discussions with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr. AKINWUMI ADESINA and with several other bilateral and multilateral delegations.
High-level meetings already attended by the delegation include the Commonwealth Ministers of Finance Meeting, and the SADC Ministers of Finance Meeting at which Mr. Chiteme, who arrived in Washington on Wednesday, led the Zambian team.
This is contained in a statement availed to Smart Eagles by Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Chileshe Kandeta.