Zambia: Donors Praise Zambia

CO-operating partners are impressed that Zambia has sustained sound economic management projected to achieve one of the highest growth rates in the world this year, at eight per cent.

Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS) group chairperson Kelvin Quinlan said the partners were happy that Zambia's economy had continued to flourish with international reserves also growing.

He was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the PRBS second review meeting with the Government.

Mr Quinlan said Zambia's inflation has remained relatively low at about seven per cent.

"We commend Government for sustaining a decade of sound macro-economic management. The Government has made impressive commitments to strengthen governance and institutions and to fight corruption," he said.

He said the partners welcomed Government's new Public Financial Performance.

The partners were also happy with the on-going Constitution review process and were pleased with the comprehensive consultation taking place.

Mr Quinlan, however, urged the Government to focus much on quality and quantity of service to ensure that increased spending generated the desired results.

"Cooperating partners need to learn about more concrete policy actions that Government will take in order to reduce poverty, create more employment opportunities, expand economic development in rural areas and distribute available resources more equitably," he said.

He said Zambia had made incredible process in attracting Foreign Direct Investment over the last decade.

The partners were also concerned with distortions and waste associated with maize subsidies and encouraged Government's plans to implement the e-voucher systems for the Farmer Input Support Programme.

Mr Quinlan said Zambia's gain of US$750 million bond in 2012 was a credit following a decade of sound macroeconomic management.

Earlier, Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba said the meeting was essential in considering the annual financial report of the 2012 Budget year, as well as the 2013 Budget.

He urged the partners and private sector to continue providing checks and balances in areas where they felt Government was not doing well.

Giving a presentation, the Permanent Secretary in charge of budget at the Ministry of Finance Pamela Kabamba said the Government was expecting an overhaul fiscal deficit of not more than 4.3 per cent of GDP with creation of more than 200,000 decent jobs this year.

She said Government's key sectors identified in the attainment of the 2013 macro-economic goals were agriculture with creation of 900 jobs for extension officers, education 5,000, health 2,000 and an additional 800 police jobs.

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