By REBECCA MUSHOTA -
THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) has said Zambia’s economic performance is impressive and that the country needs to target a seven per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance for at least five years to attain the status of a middle-income nation by 2030.
SADC’s visiting Peer Review team led by Abna Dlamini noted that indicators on the Zambian economy were impressive.
Mr Dlamini said this when he paid a courtesy call on Finance Minister Felix Mutati yesterday.
This is according to a statement issued by ministry of Finance head of public relations Chileshe Kandeta.
“GDP performance of seven per cent upwards for a sustained period of five years will be crucial in achieving your middle income objectives,” Mr Dlamini said.
And Mr Mutati said that Zambia’s economy would continue on the path of recovery because of the soundness of the economic stabilisation and growth reforms commenced in 2017.
He said Zambia faced difficulties in the period between 2014 and 2016, because of poor commodity price performance on the international market, which led to massive pressure on the local currency.
This led to induced external borrowing to meet development needs, and consequently triggered inflation and lending rates on an upward trajectory.
“Having implemented measures to the reverse the draining of public resources through unsustainable subsidies in agriculture and energy, we are now in calm waters and that is why our policy choices are now beginning to bear fruit such as the steep slowdown in debt accumulation and macro-economic stability,” Mr Mutati said.
He said although the 75 per cent removal of subsides in the energy sector was an African record, it was meant to prepare the country for economic acceleration through industrialisation driven by a sound economic environment and abundant energy.
Mr Mutati said in 2018, Zambia aimed to improve debt management by minimising information variance among different stakeholders, balance social development expectations and the country’s fiscal sustainability and boost domestic resource mobilisation through enhancement of tax compliance levels from 60 per cent to 80 per cent.
The Government also aimed to accelerate the implementation of the Treasury Single Account to ensure there was closer monitoring and efficient usage of public funds.
Mr Mutati said the Government would collaborate investment promotions in line with the Seventh National Development Plan.
He said that while it was important to pursue macro-economic stability and greater economic performance, social harmony through job-creation for the well-being of the majority were the main ingredients as guided by President Edgar Lungu.