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Sunday, September 27, 2020

CTPD’s Expectations From The President’s Opening Of Parliament Speech

Economy CTPD’s Expectations From The President’s Opening Of Parliament Speech

By Isaac Mwaipopo CTPD Executive Director

As his Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu sets to address the nation through the National Assembly during the forth-coming ceremonial opening of the fifth session of the twelfth National Assembly this Friday, 11 th September 2020, the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) wishes to share its thoughts on some economic and social issues that the President should address.

Predictions about Zambia’s macroeconomy remain grim, compounded particularly by the COVID-19 crisis. IMF predictions point to a contraction of the economy by up to 5%.

Statistics from the Zambia Statistical Agency (ZSA) indicate that the economy contracted by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2020 alone. In addition, general prices have been rising, with inflation hovering around 16% in August, while a continued depreciation in the Kwacha hit a record high of K20 per US dollar on Monday 7th September 2020. Exports in the first quarter of 2020 declined by 15.1% when compared to exports in the corresponding quarter in 2019, owing largely to a decline in copper export earnings resulting from the plunging of both export volumes and average realized prices, constraining further the availability of foreign exchange.

Judging from these indicators, there are expectations that unemployment will rise as aggregate output contracts and cost of doing business goes up. With rising inflation, it is expected that living standards with deteriorate further.

In the face of this unpleasant economic outlook, we expect the President to bring a message of hope which speaks to these pertinent issues, particularly how the Government plans to steer the economy towards recovery. We expect the President to highlight categorically what strategies are in place to address the debt situation, specifically in terms of a plan of action on debt repayments and public expenditure. While we acknowledge the disruption that COVID-19 has caused to the implementation of the 2020 budget, the President will need to restore confidence in the business climate by pointing out unambiguously what plans are in place to promote domestic economic activity while ensuring that fiscal policies align with national priorities around economic recovery.

Further, as the economic impact- of COVID-19 crisis lingers, we expect the President to provide policy direction in terms of alternative channels through which the country can attract foreign exchange, to improve the country’s foreign exchange position and restore stability of the exchange rate. Although there might be pressure to print money given constraints on public revenue, caution must be taken, and instead attention must be given to export-oriented productive sectors. The agricultural sector provides an opportunity for export promotion, within and beyond the region. We recommend that the Government be specific and categorical in its support of the agricultural sector in the upcoming 2021 national budget presentation, pointing out precisely what innovative strategies will be in place to bolster production and productivity beyond the existing input support programmes.

Lastly, while we commend Government’s initiative to engage Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and members of the general public in the development of the 2020-2023 Medium Term Expenditure framework, we also urge Government to consider seriously the submissions made by CSOs towards the 2021 national budget.

11 COMMENTS

  1. And look at this boy… at Director fimo fimo, he looks like a 16 year old kid. My boss doesn’t listen to under 5 kids like you and Bally. And the only NGOs we pay attention to are those sympathetic to our cause like Yali. Not you iwe!

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  2. He has talked about economic and social issues that President Edgar Lungu should address in his statement to officially open parliament. So far I hv seen only economic issues and no social issues. So where are the social issues ECL should address? Is it those made by the CSOs in their submissions? So where are these submissions by CSOs? To be blunt, I don’t expect much from the presidential address. The exchange rate depreciation alone has already added a significant burden to the cost of foreign debt service. Add local debt and Zambia has little room to manouvre.

  3. Expect privatization and “one Zambia, one nation ” sh!t.
    Zambians what to hear about 3 broad day robberies lead by;
    – Milingo Lungu at KCM.
    – Lewis Mosho at The Post Newspaper, where did he take all money from the assets? Is that what happened at Ramcoz too?
    – who is that Ethiopian CEO of non-exisiting Zambian Airways? How much he get paid from Cabinet payroll? Who the fvck employed him 3 years ago?
    – is Chris Mvunga a done deal to be signing on the Kwacha?
    Zambians don’t deserve 1990 scandals, they deserve updates on yesterday scandals.

  4. This is strange, there are still some people who are expecting something from the speech This is a fixture filling exercise, even after the speech, the kwacha will continue with its firm and steady march towards being worth less to the dollar, after the speech Zambia’s inflation will still be the second highest after Zimbabwe in the region, GDP growth will still be constrained and this started even before Covid as well elaborated by the ex BOZ governor. So why should one be expectant.

  5. Kaizar Zulu because we know you are not the real Kaizer Zulu and unlike others, I take everything in. Stop assuming you are wiser than the rest of Zambians at home or across the globe. Muli bapuba imwe. Every Zambian is entitled to air their opinion. I’m independent and I wonder how old you were in 1975.

  6. Enock if you referring to the second comment that is my clone. He normally blogs under the name tarino. My only genuine comment is the first one. Let me know which comment out of those two you are referring to before I respond to your stupldlty

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